Karannagoda to be charged, AG tells SC | Daily News

Karannagoda to be charged, AG tells SC

Declines undertaking to prevent his arrest:
Justice Jayawardena opts out of the Bench:

The Attorney General yesterday informed the Supreme Court that investigations against former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda over the disappearance of several youths in Colombo have been concluded and charges will be filed against him accordingly.

Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appearing for the Attorney General made this revelation pursuant to a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Admiral Karannagoda seeking an interim order preventing the CID from arresting

him over an incident where several youths had been allegedly abducted and made to disappear from the Colombo suburbs in 2008 and 2009.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena yesterday declined to sit on the bench to hear this petition citing personal reasons. Accordingly, the three-judge-Bench comprising Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Murdu Fernando fixed the petition for support on March 7. In response to a query by Chief Justice, ASG Dayaratne insists that there was no undertaking by the respondents to prevent the petitioner being arrested over the incident at this juncture.

Admiral Karannagoda filed this petition through Attorney-at-law Sanath Wijewardane naming OIC Nishantha Silva of the Organised Crimes Investigation Unit at the CID, Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara, CID Director Shani Abeysekera, Attorney General and several others as respondents. The Petitioner states that he is a decorated former Commander of the Navy holding the rank of four-star Admiral and is the first and only Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy to hold the prestigious “four-star rank” whilst in active Naval service.

The Petitioner said he was promoted to 4 star rank whilst in service for his contribution to the war effort.

The Petitioner states that it is common knowledge that he played a central and critical role in the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka, and that he was Commander of the Navy at the end of the war in 2009, for which he has received numerous plaudits and accolades.

The Petitioner states that on or about September 13, 2016, Lt.Cdr. Welagedara of the Sri Lanka Navy provided a false statement to IP Nishantha Silva at the CID, implicating the Petitioner and several others including Admiral Colombage, Capt. Dasanayake and Cdr. Ranasinghe, stating that these officers have threatened him with death. ‘On September 27, 2016, the 1st Respondent IP Nishantha Silva filed a “B” report at the Magistrate’s Court in Fort based on Lt. Cdr. Welagedara’s false statement. No attempt was made to check the veracity of the statement,although two weeks had lapsed after the complaint by Welagedara. On September 28, 2016, the 1st Respondent telephoned the Petitioner and requested him to record a statement’, the petitioner said. Apprehensive of the conduct of the 1st Respondent, the Petitioner informed the 1st Respondent that the President’s approval would be necessary before he proceeds to the CID. On September 30, the Petitioner was summoned in writing to appear at the CID on October 5 and 6, 2016 to provide a statement.

On October 5, 2016, the Petitioner appeared before the CID and the 1st Respondent, after recording a statement of the Petitioner, suggested that the recording be postponed to Friday October 7, 2016 instead of October 6 as originally intimated. The Petitioner initially agreed to attend the CID on Friday October 7, 2016. Thereafter, the Petitioner states that it was intimated to him that the Petitioner would be arrested on Friday, October 7, 2017.

The Petitioner was apprehensive that he would be detained over the weekend. The Petitioner states that he became aware that Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah made a statement to the 1st Respondent, which was reported to Court in a B Report dated August 2, 2017.

In the said statement supposed to have been made, Sinniah is said to have claimed that: Illegal detention cells were functioning under the Petitioner’s supervision at the Trincomalee Navy camp known as ‘Gunsite’; the Petitioner had instructed Travis Sinniah not to supervise or conduct any activities with regard to these cells; the Petitioner and several others were aware of the fact that persons were detained at these cells and later killed; and the Petitioner is responsible for killings of detainees held in the said cells. The Petitioner states that the 1st Respondent and other Respondents did not at any stage seek to interview the Petitioner or obtain any statement from the Petitioner with respect to the false allegations said to have been made by Travis Sinniah.


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