By Niranjala Ariyawansha
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) reporting to the Homagama Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday said that journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda had been taken to Giritale Army Camp and to Akkaraipattu blindfolded before he was killed.
According to facts reported by CID SSP Shani Abeysekare, Ekneligoda had been taken to the Girtale Army Camp on
24 January 2010, as the Officer Commanding of Giritale Army Camp had stated to the CID.
SSP Shani Abesekara added that the CID had evidence that Lt. Col. Arjuna Kumararathna, Lt. Col. Ravindra Rupasinghe and Staff Sergeant Kanishka Gunarathna had conspired in the abduction.
The three suspects have been named as first, fifth and seventh accused in this case. SSP Abeysekare said evidence had been received by perusing recordings of their telephone calls indicating they had abducted Ekneligoda and then taken him to the jungle in Akkaraipattu. According to evidence, the accused had returned back to the Giritale Army Camp two days later.
The CID reported these facts to the Court when Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake asked the CID if there was any evidence to charge the suspects under section 296 of the Criminal Code with the abduction and assassination of journalist Ekneligoda. Court also heard from Senior State counsel Dileepa Peiris appearing for the prosecution that several state officials had impeded the investigations of the CID into this abduction and assassination.
Several lawyers including President’s Counsel Anil Silva argued on behalf of the suspects. The Magistrate ordered that their submissions be made in writing.
The other suspects in the case are Lt. Col. Prabodha Siriwardhana, Staff Sergeant Priyantha Kumara, retired officers Priyantha Dilanjaya and Chaminda Kumara.
Hearing was postponed to 23 February.