Investigators within the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have uncovered a plot hatched by senior naval officers to kill the chief investigator and several key witnesses in high profile cases of abduction, torture and extrajudicial killing, reports JDS.
One such case details the abduction and murder 11 Tamil males in the suburbs of Colombo.
A number of senior navy, army and police officials have also been named in the assassination of Lasantha Wickremetunge, the founding editor for the Sunday Leader; as well as the abduction of Keith Noyahr, former deputy editor for ‘The Nation’, an assault on 'Rivira' Former Editor Upali Tennakoon and his wife, the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, and, the killing of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen.
The CID have arrested two navy intelligence officers, NMW Janaka and ASN Tony, on December 20th for “acting in a suspicious manner”. They reportedly told the CID that they were commanded to spy on the lead investigator, Inspector of Police Nishantha Silva, and those who provided evidence against Navy personnel, by Captain Sanjeewa Premaratne, the Director of Naval Intelligence.
“This is a sinister plot to assassinate the investigator and key witness as credible evidence have emerged of those in topmost places in the navy being involved in mass crimes,” JDS quoted an official familiar with ongoing investigations.
Many of the navy officials charged with crimes of abducting, torturing and forcibly disappearing have already been released on bail and reinstated within the navy with promotions. Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, a high ranking military officer, is alleged to have killed a suspect to avoid jail. He has also been released on bail.
The CID also brought Rear Admiral Udeni Indranatha Serasinghe, the Director Naval Land Operations, in for questioning on December 2. He was questioned on why he gave promotions to suspected officers under bail conditions and stated that he had received orders from Chief of Defence Staff Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Former Navy Commanders Wasantha Karannagoda and Sirimevan Ranasinghe. Lieutenant Commander Chrishantha Welagedara told the Fort magistrate that he received threats by those released on bail.
Ranga Dissanayake a senior magistrate directed the CID request the courts withdraw bail orders if there is sufficient evidence of a risk posed to the witness.
Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena has also reportedly made attempts to remove Inspector Silva from investigations.
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