Police investigating the case of the Kurunegala doctor accused of making thousands of women infertile informed court today that they have no evidence against the Senior House Officer Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen and there is no reason to continue to detain him.
Dr. Shafi is currently being held under a Detention Order issued under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
The CID informed the court that they would be intimating the Ministry of Defense of the situation.
CID Officers deposed for a total of four and a half hours and presented a 210-page progress report to the court after having interviewed more than 750 people.
They said that they had questioned 135 witnesses which included the doctors’ colleagues, his supervisors, and other medical staff.
They said they found no evidence that Dr. Shafi was engaged in any illegal activity either to tamper with the Fallopian tubes of women he had performed cesarean sections or in any way render any of his patients infertile.
Detectives had attended surgeries of the kind that Dr. Shafi had performed and had been shown that what he was accused of was impossible, they reported to the court.
They reported that 615 complaints had been received from women with regard to this case. Out of that 468 complaints had been recorded. Only 147 had submitted written complaints and out of that eleven came for questioning.
Some of the women had been operated on by doctors other Dr. Shafi and the CID concluded that only 3 merited a medical examination.
These three women are to be sent to the Judicial Medical Officer in Colombo who has set up three member specialist teams at the Castle Street Hospital and the De Zoysa Maternity Home to examine the complainants.
The CID also reported that upon investigation it had been found that Dr.Shafi had no connection to extremist Islamic groups or terrorism.
They also investigated his assets and liabilities and also found that there were no issues there.
The CID also reported that there were “irregularities” in the way he was arrested.
The politico-Monk Athureliye Rathana Thero was present in court along with a number of pro-bono lawyers who claimed to represent aggrieved women.
They submitted that the CID investigation was biased and said that their clients should not be put through painful testing but a conclusion drawn through statistical means.
The court ordered the CID to produce a further report in two weeks’ time.
The allegation that Dr. Shafi had rendered “thousands of Sinhala-Buddhist women infertile” was printed in the Divaina newspaper without revealing the source of the story.
Since then the Divaina reporters responsible for the story have revealed that their source was Deputy Inspector-General Kithsiri Jayalath, who is in charge of the North Western Province, police sources said.
The Kurunegala town remained tense as Sinhala extremist groups led by Rathana thero were present.
Large contingents of STF personnel were present in the town and around the courthouse.