The Criminal Investigations Department which took over the investigations into the Lasantha Wickremetunge murder after the Yahapalanaya government came into power has uncovered four deaths connected with the incident. When the case came up before Mt Lavinia Magistrate last week, the CID reporting facts to Court stated that the cover up had commenced from the inception by the Mt Lavinia Police and the TID. Coupled with the erroneous finding by the Doctor who performed the initial post-mortem, the stage was set to blindside the real cause of death, and where the perpetrators came from.
Investigations have now clearly shown that it was an Army Intelligence Unit operating stealthily from the old Manning Market premises were responsible for the killing of the intrepid Editor of The Sunday Leader in 2009. Witnesses have made statements to the CID that motor cyclists dressed in black and helmets to cover facial recognition waylaid Lasantha Wickremetunge on his way to work. A second post mortem has reversed the original finding as to the cause of death.
Pitchai Jesudasan, a garage mechanic from Nuwara Eliya was arrested and remanded as it was his National Identity Card that was used to obtain the five SIM cards used by the Army Intelligence to communicate with each other in Operation Kill Lasantha. Evidence of Jesudasan led to the arrest of Kandegedara Piyawansa an Army Intelligence officer who had imbibed the mechanic with alcohol to take away his ID card. Both were in remand for a considerable period where Jesudasan died inside the prison and Piyawansa was set free to resume work in his previous unit, promoted and back wages paid. Death number one.
The government of Rajapaksa’s was over and the CID following up on leads in addition to unravelling the knots that were placed by the first investigations followed up on the motor cycle that was dumped in Attidiya marsh, found by Mt Lavinia Inspector on an anonymous tip off during Rajapksa regime said to be one that was used in the operation Kill Lasantha led to interesting findings. The motorcycle was traced to an owner in the troubled North. Further investigations uncovered a gory picture. Two young tamil youth had gone missing from the North and their parents were frantic in their search. They were last seen riding a motor bike along which path the search continued. The parents did find a wayside kiosk owner who said two youth riding a motorbike were stopped by persons in a Defender jeep and hustled into it along with the motorbike and driven away coinciding with the time that the boys had gone missing. The CID had heard that there were two unidentified, charred bodies found by Police in Anuradhapura some time ago and DNA tests proved that they were the two lads who had gone missing riding the motorbike found subsequently dumped in the Attidiya marsh. Deaths number two and three.
This was followed by the suicide of another ex Army Intelligence officer Ilandarige Jayamanne from Kegalle. Jayamanne. The retired Army Intelligence Officer hung himself leaving a note taking responsibility to the murder of Lasantha. Subsequent investigations by the CID revealed that Jayamanne was in Kegalle on the day that Lasantha was murdered. Interestingly his suicide note also exonerated Malinda Udalagama, another Army Intelligence officer who had been questioned by the CID, identified by Lasantha’s former driver, as one who had been loitering around the late Editors house in addition to Upali Tennekoon, former Editor of Rivira (who too was attacked) also identifying him as one of the assailants. Jayamanne had visited some Army camps just prior to his suicide. Death number four.
Considering the available evidence the common factor that binds the story of Lasantha Wickremetunge’s murder, is the Army Intelligence. Why would the Army Intelligence wish to kill Lasantha? Why would they want to give it an LTTE connection? Why was the initial investigation taken out of the CID and handed over to TID under DIG Wakista, a known Rajapaksa acolyte? Who gave that order? Why was the motor cycle ridden by the two murdered Tamil youth dumped in Attidiya? Did the Army Intelligence Officers mentioned above know Lasantha? The telephone records reveal an interesting tale. Not one call leads to the commonly accused suspect who wore a uniform during the time.
Elementary isn’t it? It is time the CID got to the top echelons to conclude this murder investigation. The co ordinated cover up has many arms from across the security forces and Police but someone or a group in control had to make the order.
Who is Lasantha?