Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday (2), ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to arrest Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and to produce him in Court.
The former Navy Commander is accused of aiding and abetting Lieutenant Commander Chandana Hettiarachchi, also known as ‘Navy Sampath’, the main suspect in the abduction, unlawful detention and murder of 11 youths in 2008 and 2009.
Magistrate Dissanayake said that as there was sufficient evidence to apprehend CDS Wijegunaratne, the advice of the Attorney General will not be required.
The prosecution was represented by officers from the CID while Attorney-at-Law Achala Seneviratne appeared for the aggrieved party. Seneviratne told the Court that the CID has thus far failed to record a statement from CDS Wijegunaratne.
Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake questioned the CID as to what had prevented them from arresting the CDS when there was sufficient evidence for his arrest.
The CID then informed the Court that they have had pressure exerted on them from several quarters which had scuttled their efforts to arrest the CDS. The CID in its Report to Court stated that in connection with the case involving aiding and abetting Hettiarachchi, the relevant investigation file had been requested and obtained by the Attorney General from the CID and that the investigation file is presently in the custody of the Attorney General.
He further said that justice must not only be served equally to all citizens and that all citizens in the country were equal before the law.
Another suspect in the case, Laksiri Amerasinghe, who has been remanded in connection with the case was produced in Court by Prison officers and he was ordered to be further remanded till 9 November.
The CID on 2 September sending a letter to the CDS had informed him to give a statement regarding the allegations on supporting Navy Sampath to evade the Court and/or providing protection by preventing him being arrested.
Hettiarachchi Mudiyanselage Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias ‘Navy Sampath’ was arrested by the CID on 13 August in connection with the abduction, torture, extortion and murder of 11 persons in 2008 and 2009.
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