The head of Sri Lanka’s army has been accused of bearing responsibility for the alleged loss of military intelligence records regarding disappeared journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
Speaking to BBC Sinhala, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said that it was not "practical" for military records on the abduction of the journalist to still have been kepy "if the military intelligence was intelligent".
"If someone is involved in this, if they are aware of an investigation, if it is the intelligence unit, aren't they intelligent?" he said.
His comments provoked sharp criticism, including from Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of the disappeared cartoonist.
She told JDS, that if the files have been destroyed, “it is the commander's responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation and take legal action against officers who have got rid of evidence".
“If records with the military intelligence have been destroyed, it is clearly their work," she added.
Attorney at Law Upul Kumarapperuma also told JDS that the statement by the army commander “is very serious".
"Who is he trying to protect?” he asked. “Aren't they members of the military intelligence who have allegedly abducted a person and made him disappear?"
Mr Eknaligoda was investigating the use of chemical weapons by the army in the North-East during the armed conflict, prior to his abduction in 2010.
“In 2008, Prageeth wrote and informed the diplomats about the Sri Lankan government’s usage of chemical weapons against the people in the north," Mrs Eknaligoda told the BBC in 2010. “I think he was abducted by people who did not like the truth.”