By Kalana Edirisooriya –
Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed on the 8th of January 2009 and by now it is clear why the investigation was directed to the TID by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Terrorism Investigation Division was headed by Gotabaya acolyte DIG Wakishta. The cover up to prevent the murder leading to the actual perpetrators was hatched together with the decision to murder Lasantha.
People would recall how “White Van” abductions, murder and intimidation of journalists took place under the Mahinda/Gotabaya regime. It is evident once the whole enchilada is placed on the table that all these crimes were well orchestrated by that regime, including cover ups. Just recall how the money laundering took place. The ill gotten money was filtered through various means and one would be naive to believe Gotabaya and his team from the Military Intel did not know of such shenanigans when they knew every heartbeat of journalists who were keen to do their job true to his/her calling.
It is unbelievable that man could be so vile to take an innocents life simply to cover up for another murder. Only a serial killer or psychopath would do or order such. Once such orders are given, the minions who carry out become indispensable and also feel that they too could use foul means to amass wealth and pay off private grudges.
This has a snowballing effect and that is exactly what happened even though the rulers tried to camouflage by using willing cohorts to rouse up communal feelings.
Lasantha’s murder investigation was gathering dust after DIG Wakishta informed Court that it was the LTTE who were suspected to have killed the award winning journalist. Fresh investigations have uncovered that it is Army Intelligence officers who are suspected of that dastardly act. How DIG Wakista was so off the trail is unfathomable unless he too was part of the cover up.
The LTTE was set up when a motor cycle was found ditched in a field not far from where the journalist was murdered. That was the design for the cover up. Two innocents were murdered so that the motor cycle lead goes no further. The owner of the motor cycle and a friend who happened to be with him when a Defender picked them up with the motor cycle were identified much later off Anuradapura, shot through the back of their heads.
Lets go back and check the initial stages of this investigation. Pitchai Jesudasan. a motor mechanic from Nuwara Eliya was arrested along with Kandegedara Piyawansa. It was alleged that Piyawansa was instrumental in obtaining five sim cards by using Jesudasan’s ID card. These sim numbers had followed Lasantha on his death ride on the 8th of Jan 2009.
Pitchai Jesudasan died under mysterious circumstances whilst he was in remand but that death was classified under “natural causes”. He was 37 years old but died naturally !!
Kandegedara Piyawansa was released from custody when the army intelligence intervened in court.
The fresh investigation into Lasantha’s death, once the Rajapaksa government was defeated went to the CID. Slowly and painstakingly the sleuths unravelled the impossible.
Dias, Lasantha’s driver who was at home from where the journalist left on that fateful day was found after a couple of years. Up to the time he was ferreted out none knew that he had been abducted and given the third degree treatment at an army camp for shooting his mouth off after liquor that it was Gotabaya who was responsible for Lasantha Wickrematunge’s death.
Dias does not know how lucky he was. he could very well have been the fifth death in the cover up.
As in Thajudeen‘s case, Lasantha’s post-mortem report too was faulty and his remains had to be exhumed after seven years to ascertain the cause of death. It maybe of use to exhume Jesudasan’s remains to double check the cause of his death as there seems to be pattern in all these deaths.
Premananda (Malinda) Udalagama was arrested and remanded, later identified by Dias as well as Upali Tennekoon at magisterial identification parades for abducting/assaulting Dias and assaulting Upali Tennekoon.
Out of the blues Ilandarige Jayamanne, a retired Sergeant Major from the Army Intelligence decides to commit suicide seven years later, leaving behind a curt note confessing that he killed Lasantha. His only request was to release his friend Udalagama.
Evidence uncovered through phone records show that Jayamanne was in Kegalle on the 8th January 2009 when Lasantha was murdered. Maybe he levitated to Attidiya and back.
That was killing number four to cover up the murder of Lasantha. How many more ? Udalagama ? The prison authorities as well as the Police should be extra vigilant to keep those witnesses/suspects alive as they were only the tools that were used to murder Lasantha.
The orders came from high up through other high ups.
All of the evidence leads to Army Intelligence personnel and some from the TID who covered up. The real War Heroes within the Army whose hands are clean should shed those villains who have tarnished their hard earned image. If the good guys within the Army are to keep the tag “War heroes” they must help/assist in uncovering the dregs within their system lest they too are soiled with such excreta.