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Indian embassy vehicle hijacked in Sri Lanka

The driver of the vehicle was beaten and then released, reports PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2007 11:17 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

A Dolphin Hiace van, belonging to the Indian High Commission in Colombo, was hijacked and its driver abducted, beaten and then released over Monday night and Tuesday morning, a mission official told HindustanTimes.

Driver S Vishvanathan ,a Tamil of Indian origin but a Sri Lankan national, was on his way to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake 30 km away, on routine airport duty, when he was chased by some men in a car from the Paliyagoda junction up to Dandugama bridge, at which point, he was obstructed, dragged out of his vehicle, pushed into the abductors' car, beaten black and blue, and driven to an unidentified place.

The abductors knocked out two of his teeth, the mission official said.

A member of the gang, drove away Vishvanathan's vehicle.

Vishvanathan told mission officials after his release from captivity, that he was detained in an open ground right through the night.

But at about 5.30 am the next day, the captors suddenly asked him to flee, saying "Now, get out, otherwise we will shoot you!"

Vishvanathan fled and contacted mission officials who asked him to go to the nearest police station and lodge a complaint.

The mission staff rushed to the Negombo police station, where the case was registered, and took Vishvanathan to a hospital.

In a state of shock, Vishvanathan was yet to tell the mission the details of his horrendous experience.

According to the police, Visvanathan said that he had managed to escape from captivity. The police have handed over the case to the central Crime Investigation Department (CID) in view of its sensitivity.

This is not the first time that the Indian mission in Sri Lanka has lost a vehicle to hijackers.

In 2005, a posh SUV given to the Assistant High Commissioner in Kandy, Rajan Pillay, was hijacked at Ambepussa on the Colombo-Kandy road while Pillay and his wife were having tea and snacks at the popular Ambepussa restaurant.

The vehicle is yet to be recovered, though some reports said that parts of it had been found in Kurunegala.

First Published: Apr 10, 2007 13:17 IST