Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave 50 Million to kill MP Raviraj Says former police
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and senior human rights lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran says the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Attorney-General’s Department had found evidence pointing to the involvement of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) in former Parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj assassination.
Additionally, the public prosecutor’s indictment accused some “persons unknown to the prosecution” of being involved in the murder.
“So it was obvious that a few junior-level naval officers had not done this on their own. They are as responsible for carrying out someone’s orders, but it is only one small part of the puzzle. This happened ten years ago and we are still waiting to find out who gave the orders,” Sumanthiran told The Hindu on Sunday.
The acquittal of five persons charged with the murder of the Tamil legislator has renewed scepticism over the credibility of the country’s justice system, particularly in cases involving extra-judicial killings implicating the armed forces.
Following the jury’s verdict, Colombo High Court last Saturday acquitted five men indicted by the Attorney General on assassinating Raviraj in 2006, including three Navy intelligence officers. A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and lawyer, Raviraj had actively sought to engage the Sinhalese on the Tamil national question, addressing them in Sinhala. On 10 November 2006, he and his bodyguard were shot dead on a busy road in Colombo.
Giving evidence during the investigation, a former police constable who turned state witness, claimed that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa “had arranged a payment of Rs. 50 million to the Karuna faction to murder the MP.”
Karuna Amman, or Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, broke away from the LTTE and was later appointed as Minister during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.
The jury, however, deemed the available evidence insufficient to convict the accused.
The legal process in the murder probe appears fraught with discrepancies, observed lawyers. The case involved two offences — one, under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and another, a murder charge under the penal code.
While the accused naval officers were remanded under the PTA that disallows bail, they were permitted a jury trial under provisions of the ordinary law, even though the PTA disallows trial by jury, said Sumanthiran.