The Sunday Leader

CID ‘Looked After’ Suspects In Prageeth Case

  • These suspects ‘stayed’ at the CID for months as if they were staying at their own homes. The only comfort they did not have while being interrogated at the CID was to roam freely as they wished
  • Meanwhile, CID has come under severe criticism by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera for the arrest of the six military intelligence officers over the disappearance of Eknaligoda, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)
  • According to the sources, it was the secret account of the SLA intelligence unit that spent millions of rupees for lawyers to appear for the four suspects arrested for Ekneligoda disappearance under the penal code
  • All those who worked for the LTTE had joined the rebels not wanting a separate state but in fear of the lives of their kith and kin. They knew what the consequences would be if they rejected the LTTE’s call

by Nirmala Kannangara

Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara is in the picture

Startling revelations have come to the fore as to how the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had provided all the comforts to military intelligence officers detained in connection with the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda.

Sources claimed that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) had been ‘looking after’ the interest of all military intelligence unit members who were taken into custody.

According to the sources, there were instances where military officers taken in by the CID on detention orders were not allowed to meet their family members other than on Saturdays which is restricted to maximum thirty minutes.

They have been kept in the CID cells and the food was not allowed from outside. None of the military institution took any step to intervene and even sent any official to look into their detained officers’ wellbeing.  However the sources accused SLA and the CID for providing the maximum facilities for the six military intelligence officers detained for questioning.

“Although the law should be equal to everyone irrespective of their positions, what made the CID to provide all comforts what the military intelligence suspects wanted whilst being detained? These suspects ‘stayed’ at the CID for months as if they were staying at their own homes. The only comfort they did not have while being interrogated at the CID was to roam freely as they wished. If not they were given the right royal treatment, which the CID does not provide for other detainees,” sources added.

The sources further leveled allegations against the SLA for providing all three meals for these detainees from the army and also luxury foods such as cheese, butter, apples and sweets on SLA’s secret intelligence account.

“It is highly controversial as to why CID allowed SLA not only to provide all three main meals prepared specially by the army cooks but also fans and TVs for the suspects to spend a ‘luxury vacation’ at the CID. I have been attached to the SLA for several years but this is the first time I saw how the army took a special interest to provide these comforts to the six detainees. What was the reason for this? What made the CID to treat these military intelligence detainees different to that of those who had been detained during the same time for other cases? The SLA now can disclaim that they never provided these six suspects- Lt. Col. Shammi Arjuna Kumararatne, Lt. Col. Thanthulage Toshinath Prabodha Siriwardena, Staff Sergeant R.M.P.K. Rajapaksa alias Nadan, Staff Sergeant Wadugedara Vini Priyantha Dilanjan Upasena alias Suresh, Seneviratne Mudiyanselage Raveendra Rupasena alias Ranji and Yapa Mudiyanselage Chaminda Kumara Abeyratne, all three meals and all other needs for a comfortable stay at the  CID, but these details are well recorded not only at the SLA but should be at the CID as well. What was the reason why the CID allowed the friends and family members of these suspects to visit them at any given time?” sources alleged.

According to the sources, the Defence Ministry should hold separate inquiries against the CID and the SLA on these allegations which could easily be proved through the army vehicle movement records that will confirm why the army vehicles had gone to the CID more than three times a day till they were released.


Mattresses to sleep


It had further revealed how the CID had given them mattresses for a comfortable sleep. “We were told that these six military intelligence officers given mattresses to sleep on but not in the cells but in the office of Gang Robbery Bureau and had allowed them to use the wash room of the Senior Gazetted Officer for the first time in the history,” sources added.

According to the sources, if a family member of a detainee wants to make a visit, a request has to be made to Director CID with documents to prove the relationship to the detainee. If the wife wants to visit the marriage certificate has to be submitted and if a child the birth certificate. “In regard to these six detainees only a call from Col. Chandika Mahathanthila to the CID was more than enough to allow the visitors in. Other than the family members of Lt. Col. Shammi Kumararatne and Lt. Col. Prabodha Siriwardena family members of the four other suspects went to the CID almost every day. Kumararatne’s and Siriwardena’s families did not come to see them assuming the children will be mentally affected if seeing their father in custody,” sources claimed.

Meanwhile, CID has come under severe criticism by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera for the arrest of the six military intelligence officers over the disappearance of Eknaligoda, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and detaining them on detention orders for more than ninety days without allowing their family members to visit them.

According to Weerasekera, the present officers at the CID without knowing the law had filed the law suit against these officers under the PTA. “Under the PTA, cases can be filed if lives of the VIP were involved. Ekneligoda was a journalist and journalists are not VIPs. So how can the CID file cases against these heroic soldiers who were part and parcel of the war victory under the PTA. The government in order to appease the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil Diaspora are demobilizing the military officers and take them into task. We have only destroyed the LTTE tail but not fully. Now the government is trying to repeal the PTA. On whose request will this be done?” queried Weerasekera.

He further stated that under section 296 of the penal code, a dead body should be found to charge on murder. “Although the CID claims that Ekneligoda had been murdered with the involvement of certain  military intelligence officers, have they found Ekneligoda’s dead body? It is said that Ekneligoda is living in France. The government that released the terrorists involved in Aranthalawa and Sri Maha Bodhiya massacres unconditionally are now putting the war heroes behind bars demoralising them. The UNHCR report at the Geneva Convention says that there is reasonable evidence that our soldiers have committed war crimes. That report has been accepted by Minister Mangala Samaraweera which is a shame to our nation,” Weerasekera added.


Role of Karuna


When asked whether wasn’t it the previous regime that pardoned the mastermind of these massacres – Karuna Amman and made him the party’s Deputy Leader and a Deputy Minister as well with military protection, Weerasekera said that Karuna Amman disclosed important information on LTTE to the forces and was a major factor in winning the war. “Karuna broke away from the LTTE before it was defeated and joined the government. So there is nothing wrong in pardoning him. He was an exceptional case,” he claimed.   However, senior army officer who wished to remain anonymous said that it is better if Weerasekera can stay without making allegations against the CID without knowing the facts. “Weerasekera is doing politics out of these issues where as majority of those who are still in service knows what is happening exactly. As a senior Army Officer, I am pointing the finger at CID as well as Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Both these institutions are following double standard attitudes when it comes to certain cases. Army officers are highly worried as to how SLA’s secret intelligence budget is spent to defend all military intelligence officers who are accused of murder, abduction and assaults of the then political opponents,” sources alleged.

Meanwhile it is learnt how the CID had to bear an additional telephone bill amounting to Rs.26, 000 for allowing the six suspects to talk with their families.

“At a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena held on September 23, 2015 at the President’s House with Seceretary Defence, Army Commander, the then Military Intelligence Chief, the then IGP, Senior DIG CID, Ravindra Seneviratne, Director SSP CID, Sugath Nagahamulla and SSP CID Shani Abeysekera, the latter accepted that they have done something illegal- by treating the detained suspects to the fullest, the Army Commander accepted what the CID said. As claimed by Real Admiral Weerasekera that these detainees were not treated properly whilst in CID detention, these six could have mentioned this in the FR cases they have filed,” sources said.

According to the sources, it was the secret account of the SLA intelligence unit that spent millions of rupees for lawyers to appear for the four suspects arrested for Ekneligoda disappearance under the penal code. “Two top lawyers appeared on behalf of these suspects. They charged millions of rupees from SLA and it was paid from this secret account. In fact the army also provided transport for the family members to go to Homagama courts whenever the case was taken up. If not for the army’s support how posters could came up all over Homagama and Thalawathugoda area against the State Counsel who appeared for the CID. When the CCTV cameras in these areas were checked to identify the parties who pasted these posters, it was revealed as to how the army had got all the CCTV cameras in the vicinity switched off  when posters were pasted,” sources alleged.

Meanwhile former Senior DIG Nimal leweke said that if the suspects in question believe that they had been unnecessarily, without any reason being subjected to investigation, they always have the freedom make an appeal to the Supreme Court on human right violation.

Leweke hailed the CID officials for their dedicated service on behalf of the country. “The CID has brilliant officers who are capable in unearthing any mysterious crime. I understand that the CID is under severe criticism because they are in the process of taking legal action against certain military intelligence officers who were alleged to have involved in high profile murders, abductions and assaults etc. Once they uncover the evidence the CID refers it to the Attorney General for his opinion. Based on the Attorney General’s directive, indictments are served and if the AG is of the view that there are no evidence to take legal action, the CID has to abide by the instructions.

On such a back ground why do certain politicians accuse the CID for witch hunting? Why won’t they accuse the Attorney General? If taken the arrest of few Navy intelligence officers for the abduction of eleven students, it was the then Navy Commander Vice Admiral Vasantha Karannagoda who  lodged the initial complaint and we rate Admiral Karannagoda as one of the most committed, dedicated SF officer who did yeoman service to the country during her dark days. Based on this complaint when the CID initiated the investigations, they were able to unearth more details into Navy abductions. So how can now any one point the finger at CID or the Police,” Lewke said.

Meanwhile Leweke said that it is the duty of the intelligence officers to attend on the country’s intelligence service rather than engaging in politics and fulfilling politician’s illegal work. “In the past, we had brilliant intelligence chiefs like Lionel Senanayake, Kadigawa, Cyril Herath, Merril Gunaratne, Edward Gunawardena and Zerni Wijesooriya and Punya de Silva  who never allowed politicians to use them for political work but for the country. When Cyril Herath was the IGP under President J R. Jayawardena, the President  wanted to promote an Officer to the rank of DIG to which the IGP disagreed as there were many senior officers to be promoted. When the President insisted that his nominee should be promoted, IGP Herath on a matter of principal tendered his resignation and left the police department. Although President Jayawardena offered him many high posts later, he never accepted those. However, it was not the standard set by the intelligence experts during the recent past. Whoever were involved in crimes should be brought to book,” Lewke alleged.


Definition of war heros


When asked whether he agrees with the opposition politician’s claim that the present government and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) are harassing war heroes (ranawiruwo), the former Senior DIG said that how it can define who war heroes are. “To my knowledge, each and every single police, STF and military officer have gone to the battle field and had paid a certain role during the war. We consider them as committed officers.

But does that war hero ‘tag’ had allowed them to involve in crimes to get away from what they have committed. The law of the land is above all of us. The war hero ‘tag’ is not a license to kill or abduct any person. When the former Army Commander who led the Army to win the war was dragged from his office for an alleged scam and was convicted later, where were these so called patriotic people? It is the duty of the defence authorities to take legal action against anyone irrespective of their role played at the war front,” Lewke claimed.

According to Lewke, the heroic soldiers did not fight at the war for the politicians to get the reward but for the love for their motherland. Speaking further he said how he felt dejected when he saw on television few years ago how the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa wanted Karuna (Batticaloa Leader) to open the newly constructed Kallady Bridge in Batticaloa. “It was we who suffered immensely in Batticaloa and spent most of our time under this bridge on ambush duties. Once we found an explosive tied to the rafters of the bridge by the LTTE to kill the security personnel who pass through the bridge.

However we were able to defuse it and save lives. One wonders, as to why former President invited Karuna to open this bridge when he was the leader during his time 600 Police Officers were slaughtered and we were hurt to note that, as I was responsible for recovering the bodies of the Police officers in the jungles of Rufus Kulam in Thirukovil where my Senior Ivan Boteju’s body was in that lot. These are painful memories that will be with us forever,” he added. He further stated that releasing lands in the north and the east to their original owners would help out the government  in their attempt to win the support  from all for the reconciliation programme.

“Military strategies should be decided by the military and intelligence experts but not the politicians. When the threat has been minimised and if the intelligence experts have given their clearance that release these lands back to the original Tamil owners is a good move, it should be implemented without any delay so we can win their hearts which is a must in the reconciliation programme. When I was stationed in the East during the war, the land next to our camps was given to us by the Tamil owners when we made requests. The Tamil civilians were in support of the security forces as they knew that we were fighting for a cause and that only the security forces that could have saved them. Other than only a very few, out of whom I have met, all those who worked for the LTTE had joined the rebels not wanting a separate state but in fear of the lives of their kith and kin. They knew what the consequences would be if they rejected the LTTE’s call. That was why even their lands were given willingly for the security forces to establish camps and check point. Now at a time, if the intelligence experts have given the clearance to release these lands to the owners, no one should consider the negative views of the interested politicians,” Lewke added.

5 Comments for “CID ‘Looked After’ Suspects In Prageeth Case”

  1. You keep in mind that the hierarchy of the politicians , Army top brass, CID and others dealing in country’s security are always grateful to the security forces who sacrificed their lives to wipe out deadly and wicked LTTE from the country unlike the third grade newspaper of the LTTE members who are trying to bring maximum punishment to our heroes. Now you know why your so called editor lasantha is now sleeping 8 ft under the ground. This is the same practice he carried out when he was alive.

    • sunday leader is a highly educated person for educated country, srilanka not a educated minister and Army was in criminal are criminal, they can be any body they must treated as criminal in jail , not luxury food and drinks, srilanka government depend on army with out democratic government srilanka well criminal according HUMAN RIGHT, judical is politicizes then and now, srilanka need a young youth fight against army bring back country educated democratcy, fundamental right ,srilanka army personal very Rich in live next to minister it was bribes ,srilanka prime minister begging for GSP ,no election government not fit contest election, oppersisation criminal member are fighting with government, indian prime minister coming to srilanka, government shaking the tail to by guilty. consciences,

  2. Ruwan Fernando

    @ Ajantha – In that case why waste time and resources investigating ?? Do you know why your father is lying 6ft underground, and you will also join him soon , because the law of the jungle prevails in Sri Lanka. AS MURDERES HELPING ONE ANOTHER TO KILL A CITIZEN IS OKAY FOR YOU IF THEY SAY THIS PART OF THE WAR ? In International parlance they called war criminals.

  3. Freeda

    Nirmala, Why not do a good research about 60,000 JVP and suspected JVP youth and journalists went missing from 86 to 89, many at Batalanda so that people know how different governments operated. How many people have gone missing after taking into questioning. Why create a sensation about one or two guys. Was Eknaligoda a journalist. Can you please let me know about one article he wrote. We would like you to investigate how long he lived with his wife.

  4. max

    hopefully the self proclaimed yahapalana champion will not waste our poor people’s money and appoint another useless commission manned by some toothless & incompetent retirees in order to line their pockets and try to fool these foolish lankans again & again?

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