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POSTED AT 06:29 AM 10-03-2019

Karannagoda before CID tomorrow

Abduction and murder of 11 young men in 2008-2009:

After weeks of absconding from the police, former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda has been noticed to appear before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at 9 am tomorrow, on an order issued by the country’s apex court.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court last Thursday, stayed Admiral Karannagoda’s arrest by the CID, but in the same order, instructed the war-time Commander to present himself to the police on March 11.

When Admiral Karannagoda presents himself at the CID Headquarters in Fort tomorrow, he will be informed of the charges against him and a statement will be recorded from the former Navy Chief, the Sunday Observer learns. The Attorney General (AG) has recommended that Karannagoda be charged for committing offences under Sections 338 and 296 of the Penal Code.

The CID in normal circumstances, would arrest and remand suspects charged under those Sections of the Penal Code.

The CID told the Fort Magistrate’s Court on February 22 that the Attorney General had officially notified the agency that Karannagoda and 13 others would be indicted in connection with the abduction, illegal detention and murder of 11 young men from Colombo in 2008-2009. The charges to be filed against the former Navy Chief include aiding and abetting murder, conspiracy to murder and concealing evidence.

When the former Navy Chief’s Fundamental Rights petition came up for support this week in the Supreme Court, the Attorney General made it clear that Karannagoda was not involved in abducting or murdering the boys.”The basis on which the AG has decided to charge him is that he knew and did nothing to stop it,” Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne told the Supreme Court last Thursday.

When the Supreme Court heard the case on March 7 filed by Karannagoda through a proxy and his lawyers seeking an order preventing his arrest, it was decided that the arrest may not be necessary provided he fully cooperates with the CID in their investigation.

The order given by the bench presided over by Supreme Court Judges Buaneka Aluwihare, Vijith Malalgoda and Padman Surasena was very specific, stating that the former Commander should not interfere with the further investigations into the matter and that he undertakes that he will not leave Sri Lanka without the permission of the Supreme Court as given in his affidavit. He was also ordered to refrain from intimidating witnesses in the case. Subject to these conditions, the bench made an order preventing the arrest or placing the former Navy Commander in custody. Accordingly, proceedings were terminated without granting leave to proceed.

The CID sent letters to several suspects including Karannagoda on February 21 to his residential address which was returned and since then his whereabouts were not known. He then filed the petition ‘preventing unlawful arrest’ through his lawyers. He was also not found at a second address that was ascertained through Karannagoda’s family members. Former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda’s passport was impounded by the Colombo Fort Magistrate on February 22 after he failed to present himself before the CID to make a statement, where he has now been made the 14th suspect of the abduction and murder of 11 young men in 2008-2009.

“If the then Commander Karannagoda had conducted matters the way he should have at the very outset of obtaining this information, the lives of the abducted boys might have been spared,” Investigators told the Magistrate’s Court on the previous occasion.

ANURANGI SINGH

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