Jan 18, Colombo: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate Court that the same organized group of suspects had carried out both the murder of senior journalist and Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and the abduction and assault of The Nation's former Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr.
When the Lasantha Wickremetunga murder inquiry was taken up yesterday (17), the OIC of the CID's Gang Robbery Unit-Inspector Nishantha Silva making submissions informed the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Mohamed Mihail that the CID found that the same group of suspects is involved in both crimes.
The CID informed the court that although the intelligence units had been informed of the need to provide the reports on five telephones used by the army regarding the murder, the reports have not been provided yet and that the CID will expedite the investigations as soon as the reports are received.
All three defendants - former Army Intelligence Officer Sergeant Major Premananda Udalagama, former Mt. Lavinia Police Crimes Division Inspector Tissa Sugathapala and retired Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara appeared in Court.
The first suspect military intelligence officer Udalagama, who is out on bail, was arrested over the abduction of Wickrematunge's driver, one of the witnesses in the murder case.
Former OIC Sugathapala and the Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara were arrested for allegedly concealing evidence and providing false evidence in the murder.
President's Counsel Anura Maddegoda appearing on behalf of retired Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara informed Court that the CID had not taken any action to arrest the real perpetrators in this murder.
The Magistrate ordered the CID to expedite the investigation and fixed further inquiries for May 10.
The Magistrate also ordered former Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara to appear before the CID on the last Sunday of each month.
Lasantha Wickremetunga, the founding editor of English weekly, Sunday Leader, was assassinated on January 8, 2009 by four assailants who stopped him on his way to his office on Attidiya-Mt. Lavinia road, in a suburb of Sri Lankan capital Colombo.