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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Sri Lanka: Navy accused of concealing evidence over abductions and killings

Image: Navy base, Trincomalee.

by Nirmala Kannangara.

The CID also told courts that although the Navy Commander had given an assurance that the suspect will be handed over to the CID once he finishes the training course he is undergoing. Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne is yet to execute his promise for the past three months.

When the investigating officers came to the Naval Maritime Academy in Trincomalee with a court order in 2015, they found out that the colour of the vehicle had been changed into blue and was running with a forged number plate- Navy 2061.

Loganathan, Rathnaswamy and The ‘B’ report submitted to the courts and the statement given by the ASP that states how Anura Senanayake wanted not to carry out any inquiry into the abduction.

Sri Lanka Navy is once again exposed for their involvement in abducting Tamils to collect ransom and the present Navy Commander for concealing evidence.

Despite of President Maithripala Sirisena’s assurance that he will not protect those found guilty of acts that are not connected to national security but involved in killing media personnel, sportsmen and the civilians, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne is accused of concealing evidence by protecting a Navy Officer who was alleged to have involved in an abduction in 2009. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the Colombo Magistrate Courts (CMC) No: 3 that despite many requests made to the Navy Commander demanding to release the suspect involved in the abduction Navy Intelligence officer Lt. Commander Sedililage Don Sumedha Sampath Dayananda, the Navy has so far failed to abide by the instructions. The CID also told courts that although the Navy Commander had given an assurance that the suspect will be handed over to the CID once he finishes the training course he is undergoing; Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne is yet to execute his promise over the past three months.

Meanwhile it is alleged how the present Navy Commander and his predecessor Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda had reportedly told President Sirisena that all those who were abducted were involved in terrorist activities but not for ransom, although the state intelligence service, terrorist investigation unit, Colombo Crimes Division and ten other departments have cleared their names against any involvement in terrorist activities or in crimes.

Former Colombo DIG, Anura Senanayake who is now in remand prison for concealing evidence in Wasim Thajudeen murder is once again accused of preventing the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) officers from inquiring into the abduction of these two Tamils in Wellampitiya when there was clear evidence against the Navy officers.

Following the expose on the Navy’s involvement in abducting five students from Kotahena and six more from other parts of Colombo in 2008 seeking ransom, the CID whilst conducting the investigation had received information about a dismantled vehicle hidden in a Navy safe house at the Gemunu Base Welisara believed to be owned by a victim.

During the process of the investigation whether there is a connection between the abduction of the eleven students and the dismantle vehicle, it is said that the CID had been able to unearth yet another abduction of two Tamils by the Navy officers in 2009.

Highly reliable sources from Sri Lanka Navy who did not wish to be named, told The Sunday Leader, the reason why the CID officers decided to look into the anonymous information they received about the dismantled vehicle at the Gemunu Base Welisara, was, after finding out how the vehicle in which one of the 11 suspects abducted in 2008 – John Reid was travelling had been used by the Navy for its work.

“Kasthuriarachchige John Reid had been abducted allegedly by Navy officers on August 9, 2008 while he was traveling with his girlfriend in his van bearing registration number 56-5536 in Hendala Wattala. Later the investigators found out that this van was used by the Navy with a forged number plate. When the investigating officers came to the Naval Maritime Academy in Trincomalee with a court order in 2015, they found out that the colour of the vehicle had been changed into blue and was running with a forged number plate- Navy 2061. John Reid’s brother identified the vehicle and the Government Analyst too confirmed that this was the van John Reid owned which was originally pained in white. When the CID started investigation into the dismantled vehicle in the Welisara camp, they found out the legal owner of that vehicle was Loganathan of Kotahena and later found out that he too had been abducted by the Navy on January 11, 2009,” sources alleged.

Loganathan and Rathnaswamy had been abducted by the Navy on January 11, 2009 afternoon in and around Hendala Wattala, on their way to Wellampitiya together with the Toyota van they were travelling bearing registration number WP PA 6023. “These two Tamil youths  had been in possession of several gold sovereigns worth of Rs.2.5 million at the time of their abduction, and it was reported that two Navy officers had visited Loganathan family few months after the abduction allegedly seeking ransom to release the victims,” sources said.

The CID, according to the ‘B’ report, with a court order when visited the Navy’s Gemunu Base in Welisara had found out 72 vehicle parts in one of the rooms of Navy Intelligence Officers’ quarters. With the help of the Government Analyst Department and Toyota Lanka Colombo, it was revealed that these parts were from one vehicle- Toyota petrol six seater van and from the chassis number, the Department of Registration of Motor Vehicles the owner of the vehicle.

During the investigation by the CCD following the wife of Loganathan- Rajagopal Chitradevi’s complaint on May 9, 2009, it had revealed as to how the inquiring officer Sub Inspector, Sumudu Sudesh Wijesinghe was not allowed to record a statement from the accused Lt. Com. Dayananda who is now absconding from courts by the then Director CCD, SSP Anura Senanayake and was handed over to SI, Samantha Kulatunge Hettiarachchi who was on probation to take the statement.

According to the statements given by SI, Wijesinghe, SI, Hettiarachchi and the then ASP CCD, Asoka Senarath Jayathilake, had Anura Senanayake did not intervene with the inquiry and the investigation, the CCD could have saved the lives of Loganathan and Rathnaswamy and also the vehicle from being dismantled.

According to SI, Sudesh Wijesinghe’s statement, the disappearance of the two Tamils was handed over to the CCD on the request of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress MP, R. Yogarajan. On the instructions of the then SP, Ravinda Karawita, Wijesinghe had been assigned to investigate the complaints. The statement further states as thus, ‘Going through Loganathan’s mobile phone IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) number, it was discovered that the same phone was used with another SIM card -071 6887811 by S.D.S.S. Dayananda of Beruwala, Kalutara. This number had been used from January 15, 2009 four days after the disappearance of Loganathan. It was then revealed that Dayananda was a Navy officer. Although Dayananda was asked to report to the CCD to give a statement, he had absconded for several days and had later met SSP Anura Senanayake. When Senanayake informed SI Wijesinghe that Dayananda had picked up the phone from a bus he was travelling and since he could not find out the owner he had made use of the phone, SI Wijesinghe had refused to accept what Dayananda said. As a result Anura Senanayake had asked SI Hettiarachchi to record Dayananda’s statement. It was at this time the CCD was able to find out the IMEI number of the mobile phone used by Rathnaswamy was used under a different SIM card- 0773952046 which was registered under Secretary to the Commander of the Navy, Commander of the Navy Office, Navy Headquarters, PO Box 593, Colombo 1. Although this was informed to Anura Senanayake, he had not given any instruction to investigate into the matter, nor Sri Lanka Navy replied to the letters the CCD wrote on this matter’.

Meanwhile according to ASP Ashoka Jayasinghe in his statement to the CID, had confirmed what SI, Wijesinghe had stated in his statement and had further stated as to how he, as the ASP CCD was in a position to investigate the complaints but could not on the directives of Anura Senanayake who wanted only to discharge the work what he assigns but not any other ‘unnecessary’ work. According to the statement, Senanayake had directly worked hand in glove with the then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Head of National Intelligence Kapila Hendawitharana.

Meanwhile, it has come out how the then Director Intelligence, Sri Lanka Navy Commander Ananda Guruge who is accused in the eleven students’ abduction in 2008 too was involved in this abduction as well, according to the ‘B’ report filed in Colombo Magistrate Court.

Lt. Commander Mapa who was the Director Intelligence Welisara navy Camp at the time Loganathan’s vehicle was brought and dismantled into 72 pieces and hidden in a safe house had been taken into custody by the CID although have failed to arrest the Navy Intelligence officer Dayananda against whom, the CID have gathered credible evidence into his involvement in the abduction and using the two mobile phones belonged to the victims.

Meanwhile, Rajagopal Chitradevi wife of Loganathan described how two navy officers came to their Kotahena residence few months after her husband went missing, to gather information about Loganathan and seeking a ransom to release him. However the conversation between Chitradevi and the said naval officers had come to an abrupt end when Mr. Mohan brother of UNP Provincial Council Member Y.P. Ram intervened.

“Two men in their middle age came to our door step and wanted to find out details of my husband. When I asked who they were I was told that they are from the Navy. Since they came in civil and I could not understand what they were talking in Sinhalese, I sent a message to Mr. Mohan who is a businessman in the vicinity. When Mr. Mohan wanted these two navy officers to show their identity cards, they refused to show and left immediately. We still don’t know whether they are from the Navy or from any other party. After the CID informed us that they have found my husband’s dismantled vehicle within the Welisara Navy Camp, we believe that it was the Navy that sent these two men to gather more information about my husband and seeking a ransom,” Chitradevi said.

According to Chitradevi, her husband had left home on January 11, 2009 with his cousin brother to visit a friend at Wellampitiya. But since he did not return home she had to lodge a complaint at the Kotahena police the following morning.

“When I took a call to my husband around 5pm the phone was not working and since there was no calls from him and did not return even by midnight, I became restless as my husband had never stayed a night away from home other than at times when he travels abroad. Ratnaswamy’s wife too called me on regular intervals to find out whether the two had return back,” Chitradevi said.

She further described as to how SI Wijesinghe told him that he had been stopped from inquiring into the disappearance of her husband and the relative brother by the then Director CCD, SSP Anura Senanayake. “I lodged the complaint at Kotahena police and when I met MP, R. Yogarajan, he gave a letter to the CCD requesting to take over the investigation. Also I went ‘Sahana Mediriya’ at the Police Headquarters. Nothing happened as Anura Senanayake was preventing the CCD Officers from further investigating the abductions although they were able to take find out who were using my husband’s telephone from the time they were abducted,” Chitradevi said.

When contacted Navy Spokesman Lt. Com. Chaminda Walakuluge as to why the Navy is giving protection to Navy Intelligence Officer Lt. Commander Sedililage Don Sumedhasampath Dayananda without producing him in courts for his alleged involvement in the 2009 abduction despite several requests made to the Navy Commander by the CID, Lt. Com. Walakuluge said that he has to get the Navy Commander’s consent before giving any comments.

“The Navy Commander is abroad and I will send him an e-mail and get his permission. Once I get the permission, I will forward the question to the relevant departments and come back to you,” the Spokesman said.
Sunday Leader


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