13 May 2011
By Ananda Weerasuriya
In an explosive statement yesterday a former Army Intelligence Unit (AIU) member told Court yesterday that the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) had assured him of being made a state witness, provided security and a foreign job if he agreed to implicate a senior army officer in the brutal killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge.
Former AIU member Kandegedara Priyawansa who is under detention on charges of being involved in the killing of Mr. Wickramatunge told Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando when the case was taken up for inquiry.
A Nuwara Eliya garage owner Pichchei Jesudasan is also under detention on similar charges.
Mr. Priyawansa said on February 26, 2009 the TID took him away from his camp to record a statement and a case was filed on charges of having been involved in a conspiracy to topple the government but because of the lack of any evidence he was released by the Colombo Magistrate. Later he was arrested again and remanded on charges of being involved in Mr. Wickrematunga’s killing.
Mr. Priyawansa told Court that the TID Officer-In-Charge had met him and told him he would be made a state witness, provided security and found a job abroad if he implicated a senior army officer in the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the attack on two other journalists.
At this stage, an officer appearing for the TID said the suspect had made similar statements even earlier but had not done so when OIC was present in court.
The case was postponed for May 26 and TID to directed to expedite the investigations.