The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday (29), informed Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that they will be arresting current Chief of Defence Staff Ravi Wijeguneratne and producing him in Court on charges of providing facilities for former Navy Lieutenant Commander Prasad Hettiarachchi, alias ‘Navy Sampath’ to hide.
The CID, making submissions to Court, said that their investigations into the case had revealed that Wijeguneratne had clearly intervened to provide facilities for suspect Hettiarachchi to hide, in connection with the case and that a separate Court case was currently ongoing in that connection.
The CID told the Court that their inquiries had revealed that Wijeguneratne had also protected the main suspect in the case, Hettiarachchi, without handing him over to the CID for investigations.
Later, the Magistrate ordered the CID to take the necessary steps in this connection without any undue delay.
When the case was heard yesterday, suspect Hettiarachchi was produced in Court. The prosecution was represented by officers from the CID. The aggrieved party was represented by Attorney Achala Seneviratne.
Inspector of Police Nishantha Silva, submitting a progress report on the case, told the Court, “We conducted investigations on as to why this suspect had been given the alias Navy Sampath. Our investigations have revealed that a Navy Officer named Sarathchandra Bandara, who had given a statement to the CID on the murder of Parliamentarian Raviraj Nadaraja, on 8 June, 2015, had given the alias to this suspect.
Furthermore, inquiries are yet continuing on two National Identity Cards (NICs) that were taken into custody from the possession of this suspect.
Another inquiry was carried out into the passport used by this suspect to leave the country. Following an inquiry conducted into the NIC produced by the suspect, under the name of Polwatta Gallage Ashoka, on the NIC 763125181 at the time of him being arrested, it has come to light that the said NIC number belonged to Kiragama Ganithage Nandira Sisira Kumara, a resident of Fernando Avenue, Mount Lavinia. The CID then obtained a statement from that person.
He vowed to the CID in his statement that his NIC had never been lost by him and that he had never allowed it to be kept by anyone. The illegal NIC obtained under the name of Polwatta Gallage Ashoka, had been issued on 5 July, 2017 and the NIC under the name of Sisira Kumara had been issued on 9 July, 2017. The CID has requested the original copies of the documents in this connection from the Department of the Registration of Persons and they have informed us that it will take at least three weeks to handover those copies.”
Magistrate Jayaratne ordered the Controller General of the Department of Immigration and Emigration to provide a statement to the CID and then handover the original copies of the documents as sought by them.
He responded that the details presented by the prosecution had been new to him and that the stance of the defendant will be announced in Court at the next hearing.
Inspector Silva told the Court that lawyer Prasanna had even represented incarcerated suspect, Amal Karunasekera, without his consent in the journalist Keith Noyahr alleged abduction and assault case and that he was engaged in such tactics as a habit.
Inspector Silva then requested the Magistrate to bring the matter to the attention of the Supreme Court to take punitive action against the lawyer concerned.
Taking the submissions into consideration, Magistrate Jayaratne said that at the previous hearing, lawyer Prasanna had challenged the identity of the suspect and that she will study the legal aspects of it at length before taking necessary action against him.
She ordered the suspect to be further remanded till 12 September.
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