Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was aware of the abductions of children by commandos of the Sri Lanka Navy.
Sub Inspector Nishantha Silva of the CID told Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday that information has surfaced to the effect that the former Navy Commander and several high ranking officers of the Navy were aware of abductions which took place on September 17, 2008 in Dehiwala. When the case was taken up for hearing yesterday at the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court, SI Nishantha said the duty of the higher authorities of the Sri Lanka Navy would have been to release the abducted children without detaining them in torture houses if they found that the children were not involved in any criminal activity.
It has also beeng revealed that even several Ministers were aware that those children were held in custody by the authorities.
Sub Inspector Nishantha Silva was giving evidence in the Habeas Corpus application filed in respect of five children, including two medical students.
SI Nishantha responding to questions raised by lawyers appearing for the missing children, said that information had revealed that the children who went missing in 2008 were kept in a place referred to as Pittu Bambuwa at the Sri Lanka Navy Headquarters. They have been later removed to the Trincomalee Camp and kept in prison cells. The children have spoken to their parents using telephones.
“The prisons where the children were kept had very poor living conditions. It was very difficult to live inside those cells. We have sealed them now. Those cells were used during the Dutch period to store arms. Minister Felix Perera had written to the Sri Lanka Navy Commander asking him to take steps to release the children after numerous pleas from the missing childrens’ parents,” the SI said.
‘The officers responsible for the abduction of the children viz Lt. Commander Sampath Munasinghe, Hettiarchchi and Ranasinghe belonged to the private security outfit of the Navy Commander. Therefore, it is certain that the Commander should have been aware of the abduction.
The abductors have demanded money to the tune Rs. ten million and five lakhs from the parents to release them. Our investigations have not been completed. We have forwarded a report on the matter to the Attorney General. We have not received any directions from the AG yet. As we are still to complete our investigation, we have not taken any suspects into custody,” he said.
J. C Weliamuna, K.B. Thawarasa appeared for the applicants of the Habeas Corpus application the Case was put off for July 14.
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