by Shamindra Ferdinando
Denying the Joint Opposition’s allegations that law enforcement authorities had been targeting military personnel as well as the police over several high profile cases, police headquarters yesterday emphasised that they couldn’t be exempted from investigations.
Police spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody said that those who believed people could be excused as they were members of the military or the police should have their heads examined.
Jayakody was addressing the media at police headquarters.
The police spokesman said that investigations into the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda on the eve of January 26, 2010 presidential election, the abduction and assault on The Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr on May 22, 2008 and the killing of national rugger player Wasim Thajudeen on May 17, 2012 were continuing in spite of some delays due to various reasons.
Since the change of government in January 2915, the police have taken into custody several members of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) in connection with their alleged involvement in the above mentioned cases as well as the attack on Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon on January 23, 2009.
The JO as well as several nationalist organisations have accused the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government of pursuing military personnel to appease some Western powers, the four party Tamil National Alliance and the Tamil Diaspora.
Some navy personnel, too, have been under investigation in addition to those arrested in connection with the assassination of TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj on Nov. 10, 2006, but later cleared by the courts.
Responding to a query, DIG Jayakody said the investigations were proceeding well in spite of difficulties.
The police spokesman said that the police were also investigating the army shooting at Rathupaswela, Weliweriya on Aug 1, 2013. Recently, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested three army personnel over the incident.
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka recently traded allegations in respect of a secret army squad deployed in Colombo during the war. The CID recently recorded a statement from the then Chief of National Intelligence Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendawitharana on the operations undertaken by the intelligence services in Colombo.
Referring to two Senior DIGs (Vass Gunawardena serving a jail term and Anura Senanayake in remand over the Thajudeen killing) investigated by the police, DIG Jayakody stressed that the police always undertook investigations against their own.
Asked whether police headquarters had received complaints against two senior police officers based at Kilinochchi and Kayts regarding extortion etc., DIG Jayakody said an investigation was underway.
Jayakody also explained the moves to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with a new law in keeping with international standards.