By Suranimala Umagiliya –
On the 8th of January 2009, Lasantha Wickrematunge, the intrepid Editor of The Sunday Leader was murdered in a well planned attack within a high security zone. Before the ink could dry on the reams of newsprint written on that murder, a copycat style attack was carried out on Upali Tennekoon, the Editor of Rivira newspaper. It was on the 23rd of January 2009 the attackers waylaid his vehicle when Upali Tennekoon and his wife were driving towards Colombo. Tennekoon left Sri Lanka for awhile only to return to an identification parade where he identified Army Intelligence officer Udulagama as one of the assailants. Udulagama was also identified by Dias for abducting him. Dias was Lasantha Wickrematunge’s driver.
Upali Tennekoon was the Editor of Rivira newspaper which at the time was owned by two Rajapaksa acolytes, namely Nilanka Rajapaksha and Prasanna Wickramasuriya. Wickramasuriya is the brother of former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickremasuriya and a cousin of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.It was widely believed that Upali Tennekoon was attacked to misdirect people that even Rajapaksa friendly newspaper editors were being attacked. The intent was not to kill the Rivira editor. The murder of Lasantha, attack on Upali and the abduction of Keith Noyahr ( 2008 ), were handed over to Gotabaya’s bunny DIG Chandra Wakista of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID). Intent was clear. Show it as an LTTE job.
The Criminal Investigations Department took over the investigations into these crimes after the defeat of Mahiinda Rajapaksa and the real story unfurled backed by credible evidence. A rogue unit at the Tripoli Market run by Gotabaya Rajapaksa together with former Army Intel Chief Kapila Hendawitharne, Gen Amal Karunasekera and Major Bulathwatte were suspected to be the prime movers of these crimes. Evidence in Keith Noyahr’s case reported to Court by CID indicate this fact. The Tripoli Unit is widely known to have carried out Lasantha murder, Keith Noyahr abduction and torture as well as Upali Tennekoon assault.
Initially eight suspects from the very Tripoli Camp were arrested, finger printed and remanded. They were later enlarged on bail. Finger prints found on the late Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s car on the day of the murder, prints on the vehicle of Upali Tennekoon were sent to the expert Examiner of finger print division of the Police. Though no matches were found to the prints on Lasantha’s vehicle a print on Upali Tennekoon’s vehicle found a match with that of Corporal Lalith Rajapaksa an Army Intelligence Officer who at the time of these crimes was assigned to the Tripoli Unit. Corporal Lalith Rajapaksa was posted to the Sri Lanka Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany on the instructions of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2013 and returned only in 2017. As expected he has denied knowledge as to how his print came to be on Upali Tennekoon’s vehical. Finger prints are unique and no two persons prints match.
Colombo Telegraph reliably understands from a retired CID Official, that Corporal Rajapaksa was retained in Frankfurt despite the Rajapaksa Government being defeated in 2015, at the insistence of now resigned Chief of Intelligence former DIG CID Sisira Mendis.
Colombo Telegraph also learns from the same source that the finger prints were taken at the time of initial arrest but the match with Corporal Lalith Rajapaksa has been reported to Court after a long lapse of time. The Attorney General Dappula Livera’s advise to the CID to arrest Corporal Rajapaksa though late was welcome news.
The Yahapalanaya Government has been in office for well nigh four years. The evidence into these crimes have been reported to Court and therefore has been on public record. Newspapers and electronic media have time and again reported from these records. There has been a perceived delay by the Yahapalanaya Government to bring the criminals involved in these cases to court. In Sri lanka, dog does not bite dog.
Presidential elections are to be held shortly and it is a well known fact that President Sirisena would like to front up with the Rajapaksa’s for a second term. Given his proclivities in recent times the Rajapaksa camp seemingly, unlike Barkis, is not willing. There has been a flurry of activity recently, in bringing forward the cases that have been pending against the Rajapaksa cabal.
Is this an act of twisting the arm? Or will dog bite dog finally?
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