The Sunday Leader

Files Taken Over By Mount-Lavinia Magistrate

  • Lasantha’s murder case

by Nirmala Kannangara

The entire files pertaining to the murder of the Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper Lasantha Wickrematunge had been taken over by the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate to be kept in his court safe, for its protection.

Considering the fact that it is one of the main dubious murder cases, the Magistrate on the request of a Senior Police Officer last week took over the case file to his custody. “It is the best way to protect it from any unforeseen hand. The CID can now ensure that their hard work- the investigation they were carrying out after the present government came into power is in safe hand,” reliable defence sources said.

Meanwhile, the alleged conduct of Dr. K. Sunil Kumara the then JMO of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila and also Prof. Ananda Samarasekera the former Chief Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the National Hospital Colombo who have received wide negative publicity for their attempt to conceal the evidence by giving wrong details in the autopsy reports in both Wickrematunge and Havelock Sports Club Rugby Captain Wasim Thajudeen respectively.

But however, it is questionable as to why both their employer – the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicina (SAITM) so far has failed to suspend their service pending investigations. “With a heated debate already raging over whether or not SAITM medical students should be brought into the mainstream, the last thing the institution needs right now is the ethical and credibility quandary raised by having a vice-chancellor and senior faculty member being exposed for their role in covering up high profile murders. SAITM should, at the very least, save face by suspending both until the CID investigations are concluded. Prof. Samarasekera is said to be the Vice Chancellor of SAITM and the Head of the Forensic Medicine Department while Dr. Sunil Kumara who is accused in Wickrematunega’s investigation is a fulltime Senior Lecturer of Forensic Medicine at SAITAM. If either of them was concerned of the reputation and future careers of their students, they should have already resigned by now,” a retired Medical Consultant said.


Two JMOs investigated

According to the defence sources who wished to remain anonymous, both former JMOs are now being investigated and under tight scrutiny for allegedly misleading investigators and mishandling evidence relating to the the murders. Accusing Dr. Kumara for his attempt to mislead the CID Investigative Officers by stating that in medical terms, firearms could refer not only to a lethal gun/ pistol but also for a weapon including a knife or even an sharpen object that can kill a person, the defence sources said how unethical it is for a medical professional to attempt to hoodwink the investigation team.

“Dr. Kumara was not smart enough to hoodwink the CID officers who know what the difference between a fire arm and a sharp weapon is. From the time the Investigators started questioning Dr. Kumara to find out whether soon after Wickrematunge’s murder and after the investigation started last year that he had contacted police officers, the first few occasions he denied of having spoken to any police officer. After the investigation team produced Dr. Kumara’s telephone bill details that show he was on contact with a senior high ranking police officer soon after Woickrematunge’s murder and after the present investigation was started, he accepted that he spoke to this particular police officer but said that he cannot remember what he spoke about.. According to the investigation team Dr. Kumara had taken three calls to the said police officer,” sources claimed.

Senior Attorney at law and former President of the Bar Association Mt. Lavinia, Athula S. Ranagala meanwhile said that once Wickrematunge’s body is exhumed and a new JMO report is issued the story of the autopsy report manipulation would be unfolded like how Prof. Ananda Samarasekera’s  report on Thajudeen turned a twist in the investigation. The credibility of Dr. K. Sunil Kumara supposed to be questionable as the autopsy report says that the cause of death was due to cranio cerebral injuries following a discharge of firearms.

“The Government Analyst report says that there were no gunshot wounds in Wickrematunge’s body although Dr. Kumara says otherwise,” Senior Attorney Ranagala said.

The sources meanwhile further said as to how army intelligence officer Kandegedara Piyawansa who was arrested in 2010 for Wickrematunge’s murder had been given a promotion within three days after his arrest and how his salary was credited to his account continuously by Sri Lanka Army. Instead of an interdiction, the Sri Lanka Army has promoted Piyawansa within three days of his arrest and had continued to pay his salary. If any other army officer is arrested, will the army grant them promotions and pay their salaries.

Will they also be absorbed to their posts even after they are given bail? This will never happen and what made the army to give special attention to Piyawansa. Why does the army want to protect Piyawansa and also were trying to conceal evidence in to the disappearance of senior journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda,” sources alleged.

Meanwhile Registrar of SAITM, Husni Hussain explaining as to why there is no necessity for them to remove  their Vice Chancellor/ Head of Forensic Medicine Department Prof. Ananda Samarasekera and Senior Lecturer Forensic Medicine Dr. K. Sunil Kumara said that the two doctors have only been accused for giving wrong post-mortem reports but have not proven guilty.

“Just because there are allegations levelled against them, why should we suspend their services? Both these doctors are highly respected lecturers and are tutoring the students. If the court proves that they are guilty, SAITM will take appropriate decisions according to the rules and regulations of this institution. Until then they will work for us,” Hussain said.

All attempts to contact Army Spokesman Brig. Roshan Seneviratne to find whether Sri Lanka Army continues to pay the salaries of any of its staff member if arrested on criminal charges and whether it is possible to get promotions whilst in remand prison as what they have done to Kandegedara Piyawansa, Brig. Seneviratne was constantly attending meetings and was not available for a comment.

6 Comments for “Files Taken Over By Mount-Lavinia Magistrate”

  1. Patriot

    Hope it will prevent Gota getting his dirty paws on them!

  2. kudson

    how many more years will it take to get justice for lasantha

  3. Bandara

    Good news!

  4. renu

    It is said in many a statement by the Politician and others that people behind Lasantha”s Killing were the most powerful people of the former regime .It is slowly coming to light now, Some are eve visiting the Mahanayakas to get self solace , but it won”t work when the truth comes out

  5. journalist is very brilliant the people wanted to killed him the most uneducated phiycal development not mental than a animals, good governed government with the criminals, judical is inter fear politicians ,Mahanayakas taking part in judical matters, judgement delayed,

  6. shantha

    Everyone knows who ordered his promotion and salary payments?
    The police have known for years but waiting go ahead.

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