By Harischandra Gunaratna
Cabinet spokesman and Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that Maj General Prasanna Silva, who was being accused by Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, of planning to assassinate them was a close confidant of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and he was the most feared officer in the Sri Lanka Army according to LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.
Senaratne said: “Maj. Gen. Silva is a war hero and he will not stoop to the level of planning the assassination of a former President and his former boss. It was a concocted story by the Rajapaksas to gain political mileage with an election ahead and dismissed the allegation as baseless.”
Two soldiers and a driver working under the senior Military officer were taken into custody by the Mirihana police with a firearm in their possession under interrogation they told the police that it had been given to them by the former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa.
Senaratne said the vehicle used by them was one of the 767 vehicles the forces captured from the LTTE and under the orders of then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya they had been released for the use of the Army.
Addressing the weekly Cabinet briefing at the Government Information Department, Senaratne said those soldiers attached to the security contingent of Maj Gen. Prasanna Silva were not on an illegal mission though they were in civvies and denied the allegation that the vehicle bore a false number plate.
The Minister said: “All such vehicles used by the Army bore a different number plate for security reasons and it was nothing new and added the number the particular vehicle bore was that of a double cab belonging to the Army.”
Senaratne said though Rajapaksa’s were making a hue and a cry about an assassination attempt, they had not even lodged a complaint with the police.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Jagath Jayaweera said the matter was being investigated by the CID.
Jayaweera said that Maj. Gen. Silva was now attached to the Defence Ministry and when the three soldiers returned to the base they would have handed over the weapon to another set of trained soldiers before entering the respective offices.