President Maithripala Sirisena has just promoted Wasantha Karannagoda, a suspect charged with the murder of 11 young men abducted and illegally detained by his intelligence officers in 2008-2009 to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
In a shocking move President Sirisena issued a gazette in this regard on 5 August.
Earlier this year Karannagoda the former Navy Commander was a fugitive from justice and the Fort Magistrate declared him a flight risk and imposed a travel ban on his passport.
Days later Karannagoda successfully petitioned the Supreme Court and got a stay order against his arrest by the CID on the murder and conspiracy tk murder charges.
Insiders say Sirisena might be trying to curry favour with former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is tipped to be nominated as candidate from the SLPP with the promotion for Karannagoda. The former war time navy commander is a close associate of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and is likely to play an important role in a future administration headed by the ex Defence Secretary.
The same Gazette notice also announced the promotion of Air Vice Marshall Roshan Goonethilake to the rank of Marshall of the Air Force. Goonethilake was the war time chief of the Sri Lanka Air Force.
Goonethilake has been questioned multiple times in connection with the 2006 MiG-27 procurement by the Sri Lanka Air Force. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his first cousin and former Ambassador to Russia Udyanga Weeratunge are under investigation for money laundering and misappropriation to the tune of USD 14 million through the purchase of the MiG 27s from Ukraine. FCID investigations found Sri Lankan state funds had been channeled to a shell company named Bellimissa Holdings located in the British Virgin Islands.