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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Disappearance of 11 youth: Ex Navy commander’s secretary points finger at him

Former Secretary to the then Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda, has held him and Lt. Commander Sumith Ranasinghe accountable if 11 children had gone missing after being abducted.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday (26), informed Colombo Fort Acting Magistrate Deemani Baddewela that Rear Admiral Shamal Fernando, the former Secretary to former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda, had given them a statement to the effect.

The CID told the Court that Rear Admiral Fernando had functioned as the Secretary to 10 Navy Commanders and that at the time of the said incident he had been operating as the Secretary to Admiral Karannagoda.

The CID told the Court that Fernando had told them that he was unaware of the incident and that he had not given any statement opposed to the Sri Lanka Navy and currently he was retired and hence he was giving this statement again.

The prosecution making further submissions said that they were seeking to summon Chief of Defence Staff Ravindra Wijeguneratne to the CID to record a statement from him shortly in connection with the allegation levelled at him of having facilitated the departure from the country of the chief suspect in the case, former Navy Lieutenant Commandeer Prasad Hettiarachchi.

The CID informed Acting Magistrate Baddewela that they were yet continuing to inquire into the National Identity Card and the Passport obtained by suspect Hettiarachchi using a fake name Polwatta Gallage Ashoka.

The CID told the Court that investigations had revealed that the suspect had received support towards that end from the Department of Immigration and Emigration and the Department of the Registration of Persons.

They informed the Court that their investigators had also identified a three-wheeler driver at Lotus Road in Colombo who had prepared the visa documents for the suspect to leave for Malaysia and noted that further inquiries in this regard were yet proceeding. The CID informed the Magistrate that the perusal of bank accounts in relation to the allegation of Wijeguneratne having provided suspect Hettiatrachchi a sum of Rs 500,000 to hide, had revealed that the said account had been maintained as a dual account under the names of Wijeguneratne and his Secretary, during his tenure as the Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Udaya Hettiarachchi.

The prosecution informed the Court that investigations had revealed details regarding another account and those inquiries were also still continuing.

Taking the submissions into consideration, Acting Magistrate Baddewela ordered the chief suspect in the case, Hettiarachchi aka Navy Sampath to be further remanded till 10 October.

By Kavindya Perera



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