Nov 28, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court today remanded the Chief of Defense Staff and former Commander of the Navy Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne over his involvement in the cover-up of abduction and disappearance of 11 Tamil youths during the war years.
The Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake ordered to remand Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne until 5th December when he surrendered to the court earlier Wednesday following an earlier order issued by the court for his arrest in relation to the case.
Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been accused of harboring former Navy lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, who is the main suspect of the alleged abduction and murder of 11 Tamil youths in 2008 -2009 for ransom, and abetting him to evade arrest.
Accordingly, the former Navy Commander has also been named as the second suspect in the case.
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) told the court that if suspect is granted bail over the charges of failing to appear before CID to record a statement and pressuring the investigating officer and witnesses in the case, the investigations could be obstructed and requested the court to remand the suspect until 12th December.
Considering the request the Magistrate remanded the suspect until the 5th December.
The Assistant OIC of the CID informed the court that the suspect at the National Security Council meeting has claimed that the investigating officer Inspector Nishantha Silva has links with the defunct terrorist group LTTE and has called the Inspector General of Police requesting to remove the investigating officer from the abduction case. According to the Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne's request, the IGP has transferred the investigating officer to normal police duties.
The lawyers including President's Counsel Anuja Premaratne appearing for the CDS told the court that the suspect has not interfered with investigations being conducted since 2009 and has not threatened a witness in the case, Navy Lieutenant Commander Laksiri Galagamage and requested to the court to release the suspect on bail.
The President's Counsel claimed that the suspect had no need to wait until the 25th of this month to give a security threat to the Navy officer, who had given his testimony in May. He said the false charges are brought against the suspect in order to remand him at least for a day.
Considering the facts, the Magistrate ordering to remand the suspect directed that the suspect be provided with security and ordered the CID to report the progress in the investigation at the next hearing.