“Being Framed For Lasantha’s Murder” Says Sarath Fonseka
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka has accused law enforcement officers of trying to force a confession out of Brigadier D. Keppetivalana in a bid to frame him and the Brigadier in an assassination plot that killed The Sunday Leader Founder Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge.
General Fonseka told The Sunday Leader that Brigadier Keppetivalana was arrested for his alleged involvement in Wickrematunge’s killing. He said Keppetivalana’s wife had told him (Fonseka) that her husband had been arrested on charges of being involved in the murder of Wickrematunge.
“That is what his wife told me. When they arrested him at home, they had told the family that they were taking him in for the suspected killing of Lasantha. After taking him in they are forcing him to say that he got involved in the assassination following my orders,” Fonseka said.
“He is currently being forced to confess to the murder,” Fonseka claimed.
Fonseka explained that Brigadier Keppetivalana had been his Assistant Abbot when he was Commander. Subsequently, the Brigadier was sent as Centre Commandant to the Sinha Regiment. He was a serving officer at the time of his arrest.
He also said Brigadier Keppetivalana was IGP Mahinda Balasuriya’s first cousin.
However, IGP Balasuriya told The Sunday Leader that Brigadier Keppetivalana was not his first cousin, but a distant relative. “I hardly know him,” Balasuriya said.
Pressed on what charges the Brigadier was being held in custody, Balasuriya said Keppetivalana was being questioned on a number of issues and that a press statement would be released once the inquiry was concluded.
Meanwhile Director General, Media Center for National Security (MCNS), Lakshman Hulugalle also said the Brigadier was still in custody and was being questioned, but refused to give details of what he has been charged with.
Military Spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said Brigadier Keppetivalana was still in police custody and that the army would take action against him if the police find him guilty and framed charges.