The Sunday Leader

Mobile Service Provider Accused Of Blocking Key Probes

  • Authorities contemplating leveling criminal charges

by Nirmala Kannangara

A well known mobile service provider in the country is currently embroiled in a controversy with law enforcement authorities over the company’s alleged failure to cooperate in ongoing investigations of several high profile cases.

The Sunday Leader learns that the authorities are contemplating bringing criminal charges against the respective company over its alleged failure to cooperate in the investigations. The following expose by The Sunday Leader this week is aimed at shedding light on many questions in the minds of the general public over the delays witnessed in some of the investigations carried out in to high profile assassinations during the former regime and is not intended at making any malicious comments at private business entities or individuals.

Highly reliable sources from the Attorney Generals Department told The Sunday Leader that mobile service provider, Dialog Telekom’s continuous failure to provide certain important mobile call details vital to make breakthroughs in some of the controversial assassinations that took place during the former Rajapaksa regime could even lead to the arrest of the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

Sources who wish to stay anonymous said that Dr Shridhir Sariputta Hansa Wijayasuriya also known as Hans Wijayasuriya will be called to respond over the company’s alleged failure to cooperate with the country’s law enforcement authorities to make a breakthrough to the murders where the military intelligence unit members are alleged to have been involved directly.

Amongst the most controversial investigations that are now hampered to a large extent allegedly due to Dialog Telekom’s failure to provide mobile call details of some of the suspects involved in the murder the founding Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper Lasantha Wickrematunge, disappearance of Lanka E  news journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, murders of national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, Tamil politicians N. Raviraj and Joseph Pararajasingham and several more such cases. According to sources, startling revelations have now come to light as to how members of the military intelligence unit were allegedly involved in all the above mentioned incidents and how the military intelligence unit member’s alleged direct access to Dialog had prevented the release of the necessary call details either to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or even to the respective courts.

“When talking about scientific evidence to make a breakthrough to any murder does not mean that there is forensic or Judicial Medical Officer’s (JMO) reports only. Call details of the victim too is considered as scientific evidence as those details can certainly make a breakthrough easily. If any telecom service provider purposely hampers the police investigations, the law of the country can take such parties into custody and get the necessary call details,” the sources said. According to sources, all the above investigations are now at a standstill where the respective investigative teams have tried their best to get the details of the telephone calls the victims had received and taken but have failed so far. “How can Dialog Telekom say that they have not stored any call data of more than three months, when we have all records to prove that this same service provider had cooperated with us to make breakthroughs in many more cases by giving us mobile call details spanning several years. The CID has given us all these details including the case numbers and the nature of these crimes. In such a backdrop it is surprising as to why Dialog is now coming and saying that they do not store any records after three months which is a joke,” sources alleged.

Meanwhile, inside sources at Dialog Telekom who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to The Sunday Leader that all call details of any Dialog number spanning to 10 to 15 years can easily be taken as all records are with the company and raised questions as to why their company claims that mobile call details over three months cannot be retrieved. “All our past records are being zipped up (stored) and if there is a necessity to get these details this can be opened and taken. It is not a big issue for a company to get these details but it is surprising as to why our higher officials are claiming otherwise. We are sure our management does not want to reveal who the connected suspects are in these cases where the entire country is eagerly waiting to see who were behind these murders,” Dialog Telekom sources said.

Highly reliable sources from Mobitel Telecom also confirmed this and said their call details of over 15 years are with them for any future reference. “We do store all these past records as it is vital for us. I do not agree with what Dialog Telekom says. It is misleading. A company such as Dialog says that they do not have the facilities to keep the past records with them is the ‘Joke of the Year’,” Mobitel sources claimed.

Meanwhile, questions have now been raised as to what the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) that had given licenses to the mobile phone companies would do if one of their clients – Dialog Telekom further hampers police investigations. “If any telecom operator had violated the agreement they have entered into with the TRC, and if the agreement says that they have to cooperate with the government in regard to issues pertaining to the national security, the service providers are bound to help out in such cases by providing call details. In the event if they violated the agreement conditions, the TRC has the authority to suspend the license forthwith,” AG’s Department sources added.

It has now transpired how military intelligence unit members were involved in the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and in the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Wasim Thajudeen, N. Raviraj and Joseph Pararajasinghm. According to sources, since many arrests have now been made in to these murders where most of the suspects have been identified as military intelligence members, it can be assumed that the respective mobile service provider wants to hide the telephone call data in order to safeguard these intelligence officers.

“Senior officials at the respective mobile service providing company are known to have had close links to senior officials of the country’s defence establishment during the former regime,” sources said.

Sources further said that when President Maithripala Sirisena was informed of Dialog Telekom’s failure to provide the vital details to make a breakthrough to the suspected murders, the President had allegedly called the Dialog officials to his office and had reprimanded them. “Despite the warning, Dialog is very stubborn and do not want to give any details,” sources added.

Kandegedara Piyawansa, a military intelligence unit member who was arrested for Wickrematunge’s brutal assassination in 2009 was released on bail after he claimed in open court that he needs to make a dock statement on Wickrematunge’s assassination. He was then allegedly taken to the Magistrate’s chamber where he had reportedly made a ‘statement’, after which bail was granted.

Following the arrest of the former LTTE cadre, Sudha, who was taken into custody for the killing of former TNA parliamentarian, Nadaraja Raviraj, the CID arrested 11 suspects for the Ekneligoda abduction on evidence unraveled during Sudha’s interrogation.

It was on Sudha’s information that two former LTTE cadres were arrested, who later allegedly revealed who was behind Eknaligoda’s disappearance. It is also alleged that these two Sumathipala Suresh Kumar and Sathya Master were attached to the LTTE intelligence unit and it was on their information, Sergeant Major Ranbanda who was attached to the army intelligence unit was arrested in Kurunegala. This was followed with the arrest of two Colonels attached to the army intelligence unit and seven others were also taken in to custody.

The two LTTE intelligence carders were attached to the Karuna faction and it was they who have allegedly abducted Eknaligoda from Rajagiriya on January 24, 2010 and had dropped him off at the Giritale camp and is alleged to have drowned Eknaligoda in the seas off Trincomalee.

Amongst the arrested are Lieutenant Colonel Kumararatne who was in charge of the Giritale army camp, Lieutenant Colonel Siriwardena, Staff Sergeant Rajapakse and Corporal Jayalath.

According to Sergeant Major Ranbanda, who was attached to the Giritale Camp at the time, Eknaligoda was allegedly brought in for interrogation and after a rigorous interrogation by Major Jagath Wijesuriya, Eknaligoda had been taken away and he (Ranbanda) had not seen the journalist thereafter. He has further confessed as to how a Colonel attached to the same army camp was aware of Eknaligoda’s fate.

Major Jagath Wijesuriya who was in charge of the Girithale camp where Eknaligoda was brought and questioned was later promoted to the rank of  Major General by the then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa although there were allegations leveled against him (Wijesuriya) for a cattle theft. It is alleged that this promotion was given because of the friendship between the then Defence Secretary and Wijesuriya.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Shammi Kumararatna is also accused of in the operation to abduct Ekneligoda where the latter was taken to his personal agricultural farm in Sigiriya and later to the army intelligence headquarters at Giritale in the Polonnaruwa district. It is alleged that Ekneligoda was rigorously interrogated by Lt. Col. Ratnayake and his staff for several days before his fate was decided.

It was same with the death of national rugby player Wasim Thjudeen. He too had been murdered allegedly by members attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) on the instructions of sons of a VVIP. Military officers are also accused of being directly involved in the murders of former parliamentarians Joseph Pararajasinghm and N. Raviraj as well.

Meanwhile reliable CID sources told The Sunday Leader that it is questionable as to how Dialog Telekom claims that they do not have certain call details although they have call details of the days before these murders took place and from the day after the murders took place. In most of these cases, Dialog does not have call details of the victims and suspects the days the incidents took place but before and after the incident all call details could be retrieved. As we do not want to hamper the investigations carried out by our Department we will not reveal certain details but they continue to fail to provide the details we want we will take action against its CEO for aiding and abetting these murders by safeguarding the murders, sources said.

“Now the Dialog Telekom license is under threat and senior officials can be arrested if they do not cooperate with the investigations. Not that we cannot take a court order and go to Dialog Telekom with IT experts and check all the stored call details, but we do not want to do that as they can accuse us claiming that we damaged their systems or even the data,” sources further added. Meanwhile sources further stressed the need to change the military intelligence unit members immediately as the present intelligence unit members have been appointed by the then Defence Secretary and their loyalty is still for Rajapaksas.
Meanwhile Director General of TRC, Sunil Sirisena when contacted said that he cannot make any comment with regard to Dialog Telekom’s failure to provide call details of certain victims and the suspects but added that if the court orders to the TRC to take action against Dialog, he has no other options but to abide by the court ruling.

When asked whether the agreement Dialog Telekom has entered into with the TRC says that call details have to be stored for any future reference, Sirisena said that he is unaware of it as he has to go through the agreement since he is new to the TRC.

“I was appointed to this post a few days ago and have not gone through these agreements. All what I can say is that in an even I get a court order, I have to stand for the court ruling,” Sirisena added.

Many attempts by The Sunday Leader to contact Dr. Wijesuriya from Dialog Telekom failed and he even failed to respond to the questions emailed by the newspaper to highlight the company’s explanation on the issue mentioned above.

All attempts to contact CEO, Dialog Telekom, Hans Wijesuriya for a comment failed as Darshana Abayasingha the Group Corporate Communication Manager, Dialog Telekom nor did the CEO’s Secretary Tanya give any contact number for Wijesuriya.

Abayasingha insisted that he cannot connect me to Wijesuriya as the authorised spokesman only he is authorised to response to the media pertaining to matters which are already before courts. Hence on his request, an e-mail was forwarded to get answers from Wijesuriys to the questions this newspaper posed. However instead of Wijesuriya, Dialog Telekom sent its reply stating that they continue to provide their fullest cooperation for the investigations in question.

“Dialog has and continues to provide its fullest cooperation to Law Enforcement Agencies and the Courts of Sri Lanka in the discharge of their duties. This uncompromised level of support provided by the Investigations Division of the company is extended without exception to all matters on which assistance is requested. The company maintains the highest degree of confidentiality with respect to all its engagements with law enforcement agencies and the courts of Sri Lanka.

Hence we regret being unable to provide any further information with regard to any specific investigations. This response to your query is provided on behalf of the Company by its authorised spokesperson, who is the only officer of the company authorised to respond to media queries as pertaining to matters  already before the Courts of Sri Lanka” Abayasingha has stated on behalf of Dialog Telekom.


3 Comments for “Mobile Service Provider Accused Of Blocking Key Probes”

  1. Dialog should be brought before the courts and the CEO and team jailed for life. Why on earth are the citizens of Sri Lanka not cancelling their subscriptions with Dialog and moving on to a new provider. If this is done Dialog will soon have to file for bankruptcy and full control can be taken over by the authorities and the receiver appointed. Then all the information required to bring these criminals to justice can be enforced. Peoples power is what is now needed.

  2. nimhem

    all bloody politics , you work for the ruling government and work in this country.

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