Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has moved to have the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) investigate the alleged involvement of his Personal Secretary (Media) Ruwan Ferdinandez in the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.
Samaraweera’s request to the CID follows a suggestion by Ferdinandez who demanded that the allegation be investigated and that he be temporarily relieved of his duties until such investigation is concluded.
Ferdinandez wrote to Samaraweera after the website Abrighterfuture.lk quoted what Ferdinandez refers to as a ‘gossip site,’ namely www.lankaenews.com claiming that a certain ‘Ruwan’ was associated with the disappearance of Ekneligoda.
As Colombo Telegraph has reported, Ekneligoda was abducted twice, the first time on August 27, 2009 and the second time on January 24, 2010.
Prior to the second abduction, the CID had questioned Ekneligoda’s friend Kelly Senanayake, owner of Navamaga Printers, to ascertain the identity of a handwriting sample. Senanayake confirming that he had indeed been summoned to the fourth floor of the CID, said that the investigating officers had inquired if he printed the document to which Senanayake had replied in the negative. He had however confirmed that the handwriting on this document (which was a photocopy and not an original) was Ekneligoda’s.
The said document was one that Ekneligoda had written to support Sarath Fonseka’s election campaign and took the form of a scurrilous pamphlet (‘kaelae paththaraya’). It covered 23 persons including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his siblings Basil, Gotabaya and Chamal, his son Namal, nephew Sasheendra and ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Dulles Allahapperuma.
The document had been typeset. Ekneligoda had checked the proofs and his handwriting was visible in some sections of the document.
Lankaenews editor Sandaruwan Senadheera in an interview with a UK based journalist named Kalpa Palliyaguru has stated that such a document was in fact written by Ekneligoda and had been handed over to Samaraweera’s office in Rajagiriya. Samaraweera at the time was backing Fonseka. The document was received by Ferdinandez, according to Senadheera.
Senadheera reveals that Senanayake had told him about being questioned by the CID. He supports his suspicion of Ferdinandez’s involvement by pointing out that Ferdinandez’s name was on a CID ‘paying list’. Ferdinandez, upon being asked about this, had said he had no idea how his name happened to be on it, Senadheera said. He also pointed out that it was Ferdinandez who had, sometime later, began to post in various websites allegedly handled by him (Ferdinandez) that Ekneligoda was an LTTE agent. This, Senadheera says, seems to confirm that Ferdinandis was in fact a paid agent at one time.
Senadheera believes that Ekeneligoda’s disappearance was a result of the said document getting into the hands of the CID in January 2010.
According to Senadheera, the CID has since ruled out that Ekneligoda had any connection with the LTTE.
None of this, however, sheds any light on the first abduction which took place long before Fonseka had announced his candidacy.