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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Eknaligoda Case: Who’s Covering Up Facts, Asks Magistrate

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Tuesday informed the Homagama Magistrate’s Court that the very first voice tape connected with the suspect soldiers serving at the Army Camp in Giritale who had abducted missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda had conspired to kill him after the abduction.

Senior Superintendant of Police Shani Abeysekera presenting evidence on behalf of the plaintiff Sandya Ekneligoda, said that the first conspiracy meeting to kill Ekneligoda had taken place on 27 August 2008 and that the second suspect in the case had participated in that first meeting. Nine Army Intelligence officers who had been serving at the Giritale Army Camp who are suspects in this case were produced before Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake on 23 February.

The suspects are Lieutenant Colonel Shammi Arjuna Kumararatne, Lieutenant Prabodha Siriwardena, Lieutenant Priyantha Kumara, Rajapaksha Wadugedera Vinnie Priyantha, Ravindra Rupasena, Chaminda Kumara Abeyratne, Kanishka Gunaratne, Aiyyasami Balasubramaniam alias Ravi and Tharanga Prasad Gamage.

At this juncture the Magistrate asked Plaintiff’s attorney whether this crime is considered to have been committed under the Criminal Procedure Code Clause No. 296 and whether there is relevant evidence to support that premise. The Magistrate further said that the case could be heard by a three-Judge bench dispensing with a non-summary because the Attorney General could make direct indictments on the basis of established facts and if that is done before Judges of the High Court, whether the plaintiff could submit to Court direct or active evidence.

Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera who led evidence for the plaintiff on behalf of the Attorney General said that even though there is no direct or cogent evidence, facts can be presented on supporting a murder accusation based on clear circumstantial evidence.

Subsequent to taking into consideration suspects’ ability to escape from the law based on the fact that neither a corpse nor body parts were found, he further said that even the Indian Supreme Court proves cases based on circumstantial evidence. He also pointed out that the delay regarding these cases was due to the fact that government officials do not cooperate.

The Magistrate advised the Attorney General’s Department to focus attention on who is covering up facts.

He also asked whether the Army Commander was providing the required assistance to the CID in this Case.
SSP Shani Abeysekera told Court that facts relating to 8 issues had been called for from the Army and the Army was cooperating fully with the probe to date.

The Magistrate ordered the suspects be re-remanded until the 8 March on which date the case will be heard again.

By Niranjala Ariyawansha / Ceylon Today


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