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Supreme Court Orders Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Should Not Be Taken Into Custody By Police On The Basis Of Sworn Affidavits by Ex-Navy Chief That He Would Not Interfere With Witnesses or Leave the Country

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By Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda to be present at the CID next Monday to record a statement.

Karannagoda would submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court to the effect that he would neither interfere with witnesses at the High Court trial nor leave the country. In respect of that undertaking the petitioner Karannagoda should not be taken into custody, the court said.

The proceedings of the hearings were terminated on the basis of the undertaking to give sworn affidavits to the court.

At the outset, Romesh de Silva PC, who appeared for petitioner Karannagoda, told the Supreme Court that there was no reasonable suspicion to arrest the petitioner, in connection with the disappearance of eleven youth in the period 2008/2009. If the petitioner got indicted in the High Court he was ready to face trial. But a war hero such as the petitioner should not be arrested without a solid basis. It had been recorded that United Nations personnel had investigated the Navy camp at Trincomalee and found bones. Those bones had been tested by the Government Analyst and found to be skeletal remains of animals.The UN officials had no business to interfere in the internal affairs of a Sri Lankan Navy camp. That was the work of the Non-Governmental Organisations.That kind of situation made any patriotic person angry.

Romesh de Silva appeared with Sugath Caldera.

The petitioner was subjected to arbitrary treatment and political victimisation, the counsel submitted.

Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne P.C. appearing for the Attorney General said that the investigations were nearing conclusion. A statement had to be recorded from Karannagoda.

The ASG said that as suspects should be treated equally before the law, the AG would treat all persons equally before the law. He was not yet arrested. Hence the question of detention did not arise.

He said the petitioner had information about the abduction of some youth, at Dehiwala. The parents said they had spoken to him. They had said the victims were also in the custody of the Navy.

The petitioner did not have a direct hand in the abduction, but it had been brought to his attention that youth had been abducted and detained in the Navy camp at Trincomalee, according to the findings of the investigations.

The petitioner allegedly failed to respond lawfully to the information received, the ASG explained.

J. C. Weliamuna P.C. represented the mother of one of the victims. It had taken 10 years for the case to be taken up. The children had been kept in custody even in Colombo not only in Trincomalee. The petitioner could influence witnesses at a trial.

The bench comprised Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda and Justice Preethi Padman Soorasena.

Courtesy:The Island

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