(Sampath Lakmal’s mother holding a placard at a FMM protest: Arrest killers of my son, FMM photo)
Nine years after defence correspondent Sampath Lakmal de Silva was murdered in Dehiwela, on 02 July 2006, the CID has been able to reveal his killer. The killier is Lt. Col. Shammi Kumararatne of the Army intelligence, who is presently in CID custody over the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda.
On the night of 01 July 2006 when he was having his dinner, Lakmal had received a call, and leaving his meal, he had got dressed and left, his mother Rupa de Silva told the CID in a statement. When she asked as to where he was going, Lakmal said, “Kumara Sir asked me to come urgently,” and left, never to be seen alive again. His dead body found on the following day.
The person she has referred to as ‘Kumara Sir’ is Lt. Col. Kumararatne, it has now been revealed. In order to justify his killing, the Army intelligence spread through the media at the time that Lakmal had been a ‘double agent’ who gave military information to the LTTE and LTTE information to the military. But, there is no evidence to prove that. Upcountry People’s Front’s P. Radhakrishnan said then that Lakmal had been killed as he knew about all the killings committed by the Army. At the time of his murder, Kumararatne had been a lieutenant in the Army.
A freelance journalist contributing to Irudina, Lakbima and Sathdina, Lakmal was also the defence correspondent for the Sathdina. The attorney general’s department has informed the CID that Kumararatne could be served with indictment directly, without a preliminary investigation, over Lakmal’s killing. However, attempts are being made to prevent that from happening.