Aug 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka Army today vehemently rejected the accusation that it is involved in the robbery at the house of a Journalist of a newspaper that is critical of the government.
Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya told media today that two army soldiers were involved in the robbery at the Associate Editor of Sunday Leader Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema's house in Bambalapitiya early Saturday morning was completely false.
"Some statements and reports have even attempted to portrait this as an attack on media. There is nothing far from truth and we refute all allegations," Brigadier Wanigasooriya said.
The police had identified the five suspects who broke into the house to rob money and jewellery and among them were two army deserters. One of the suspects was killed by police during the arrest.
The Army Spokesman clarified to media that one of the suspects had deserted the service and the other had reported to the Army after deserting the service and subsequently removed from the force.
The deceased suspect, identified as 39-year-old K.P. Indika Sampath Kumara from Avissawella was a brother of Private Soldier K. P. Chamara Kumara who was one of the deserters arrested by the police.
According to the Army spokesman, Chamara Kumara who had deserted and returned to the force was on temporary discharge after disciplinary procedure and awaiting permanent discharge.
The other ex-soldier involved in the robbery Rifleman Asanka Ubeysiri had deserted the service in May 2010 and has not returned.
The journalist has told the BBC that the robbery was suspicious as the robbers have spent several hours examining documents while collecting the valuables.
Media activist groups and the opposition political parties have questioned why the five suspects spent hours robbing a house without attempting to get away quickly.
Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake has asked how the police usually inefficient in other incidents were quick to kill one of the suspects and arrest the others. The MP raising suspicion on the suspects spending hours in the journalist's home has called for a complete investigation.