While criticizing Government leaders for playing petty political games, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday claimed he had no recollection of any telephone call in connection to the abduction of senior journalist and then Associate Editor of the ‘Nation Newspaper’, Keith Noyahr.
A team of about five Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers arrived at Rajapaksa’s official residence at around 11.30 last morning to record a statement from the former President and incumbent Parliamentarian Rajapaksa, in connection with the pending case on the abduction of Noyahr.
Journalist Noyahr was abducted and tortured in 2008 during the Rajapaksa regime.
Following the questioning, which lasted for about three hours, Rajapaksa addressed the media and said that he was asked inter alia about a phone call which he happened to have received from Speaker Karu Jayasuriya somewhere near midnight on the day of the abduction.
He also said the inquiries by the CID officers were predominantly based on a statement given by Jayasuriya on an earlier occasion to the CID.
“The CID questioned me based on a phone call I had supposedly received from Karu Jayasuriya at around 11.20 p.m. on that day. Apparently I had also received a call from Alahakoon (Lalith Alahakoon-Editor of the Nation newspaper) as well.
Accordingly, after this so called phone call journalist Noyahr has been released. Usually I receive numerous phone calls and obviously I cannot keep track of each and every phone call. The CID kept on asking about this. Then I asked them whether it is wrong if someone who happened to be abducted was subsequently released.”
“I cannot remember receiving a call from Jayasuriya and it is they who claimed so. But I must insist on one thing. This whole incident proved that I was not a President who falls asleep by 10.00 p.m. because I used to get lots of calls from my Cabinet Ministers.
“They also asked me whether a particular newspaper carried an article criticizing some officials at that time, so I replied saying that it’s common that all newspapers carry such articles,” Rajapaksa added. The former President claimed that these were acts of political revenge by the leaders of the current Government who are plotting against him.
“CID will not come to record a statement from me without their knowledge and blessings,” the former President said.