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Two individuals behind incidents involving Lasantha, Keith & Prageeth: Gota

13 February 2019 12:15 pm - 28     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said two individuals were behind the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the assault on journalist Keith Noyahr and the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr. Rajapaksa said he was not involved in any of these things including the disappearance of Ekneligoda.

“We did not want to do such things. These were done purely for personal reasons by two individuals. I do not want to name them. Immediately after Lasantha’s killing, the then Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former MP Joseph Michael Perera categorically said in parliament that it was the work of the then army commander. After that when the army commander joined hands with them and decided to contest elections in 2010, they did not talk about it. Thereafter, they put the blame on me,” he said.  

When asked why he didn’t look into these cases as the then Defence Secretary, Mr. Rajapaksa said he was concentrating fully on the war.

“That is true. Under such circumstances, we cannot stop the war to devote ourselves fully on various investigations. The CID and the intelligence authorities had a task assigned to them. With bombs going on around the country and killings by terrorists happening everywhere we had to direct our resources to counter them. That was the reality.

After the then army commander sided with the other side later, we never hunted him for personal reasons. We went after him with proper charges only. I asked the CID to do proper investigations regarding these matters and they carried out such investigations with proper evidence.

If the present government is genuine, it must target people on legitimate charges. It is unjust and unfair to put the blame on anyone sans a legitimate basis. True to my heart, I know I was never involved in any of these murders.

Q: However in a recent newspaper article written by Lasantha Wickremetunga’s daughter in connection with his death anniversary, she had drawn a link between the murder and the articles carried in the newspaper regarding the MiG deal in which your name too was implicated. Your comments?

I have to tell you that whatever he (Lasantha) wrote was wrong and I went to court on that.  

He also wrote even worse articles criticising the then army commander. At that time, if anyone wrote anything against the then commander, some incident took place. On the other hand what happened during the time of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga? Lasantha wrote extensively against Chandrika, Mangala and others as well. Why aren’t those things brought out? Why is there reference only to this particular article?

What I did was to take the proper course of action and go to court against that article. I did the proper thing. In the history of the war, the MiG deal was the most transparent transaction. We have proven it. In short, the Air Force asked for MiG attack aircraft. That request had been made since the time of Chandrika’s Presidency. It was a genuine requirement. The selection was done by them. During purchasing, the Air Force was involved. It is not that I got involved. It is the whole process. It was one of the earliest purchases we made. I followed the exact procedure, examining financial evaluation and appointing tender boards and negotiation committees. It is not a one man operation. There were a whole lot of officials involved. The negotiation committee chairman became the auditor general later on.

The Ukrainian Government submitted proposals. A team from the Air Force visited Ukraine. They had discussions in Ukraine. Two air force commanders were involved.

If somebody says that Lasantha was targeted because of this article, then, what about other articles written by him against other people?  On one previous occasion, much before we came to power, Lasantha and his wife were attacked. Once, Mangala Samaraweera called Lasantha an unpatriotic person as well. (Kelum Bandara)

Read the full interview here

  Comments - 28

  • Kopa Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:18 PM

    Of course of course. We believe you.

    Lord Wolfstein Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:20 PM

    The statement of Gotabaya shows his poor intelligence

    ShakeSpear Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:56 PM


    K Perera Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:58 PM

    Poor? Virtuallly non-existent.

    Cluless Wednesday, 13 February 2019 03:11 PM

    If he had too much intelligence we would be still fighting terrorism.

    Citizen Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:22 PM

    Dont try to fool us Mr Gots.We challenge you to name the two and bring out the evidence you have.

    Manjula Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:24 PM

    Well said sir!. A long awaiting leader for this country

    SG Wednesday, 13 February 2019 03:23 PM

    haha oh Lord!

    BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:57 PM

    The two individuals ur referring are the camels, they just carried out for someone else, we need to know for whom they carried or rather under whose direction they did those killings. How did Keith escape death by that crucial call from Karu to Mahinda... that speaks volumes for what ur blabbering now. Thajudeen??? Comeon u r not talking to babies.

    lost lankan Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:15 PM

    Look who is talking babies dream time stories.Raja's also had hand and interests vested in this.

    Ghost Rider Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:16 PM

    One individual is YOU !!!

    Borat Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:36 PM

    The messiah has spoken. Oh why the long wait. When Atmy commander was in prison more serious charges could have been brought against him so that he could never set foot out of prison . Now you are whitewashing yourself. Anyway no one will vote you for president.

    C.K.Lankaputhra Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:45 PM

    One we know for sureTell us the other and start the drama. With out disclosing the two, we just cant believe you.

    Haramanis Wednesday, 13 February 2019 02:09 PM

    Mangala and Makandure Madush must surely have a hand in these killings

    Banda Wednesday, 13 February 2019 03:08 PM

    Who is Lasantha? Just another murder... that's all Mr Gota!!

    SKM Wednesday, 13 February 2019 03:09 PM

    If Sarath F was involved, why did MR/GR try to punish him using a minor matter (supplies to army), without using these murders and disappearances?

    Roche Wednesday, 13 February 2019 03:21 PM

    I feel sorry for you ,

    Palli kanda Wednesday, 13 February 2019 05:24 PM

    Sure, I know who killed Thajudeen.

    savagepotatololol Thursday, 14 February 2019 01:08 AM

    One simple question, you said your deals were transparent. So please "GOTA" explain how on the earth you could afford a Toyota Land Cruiser in SL? nothing much. Living in LA we know that you never made more than $15/hr and lived in a small apartment in LA suburbs and had a used Toyota corolla. So how you could afford all these luxuries in SL with your small defense secretary salary and pension-still lower than your minimum wage in the USA.

    N.wijeratne Thursday, 14 February 2019 01:16 AM

    The question is the motive for killing of Lasantha?A Defence Secretary with responsibilities cannot just forget a killing of a Journalist in broad daylight!!Whoever who killed wanted to get rid of him- no doubt about that???

    Nuwan Thursday, 14 February 2019 01:58 AM

    Father of white van abductions, is he trying to white wash himself? Remember the hard talk interview on BBC. It showed how bad a character he is to the whole world. He also asked who is Lasantha and said he was a tabloid reporter.

    Andrew Thursday, 14 February 2019 06:42 AM

    Sri Lankan truth is so blemished there will never be a conviction. These people espoused to be ardent Buddhist and Christians have only skin deep conscious.

    sunil vijaya Thursday, 14 February 2019 07:13 AM

    reveal their names! at least in a court! for avoid defamation, for gods sake!

    Sen Thursday, 14 February 2019 07:47 AM

    If you gain out of Mig deal that should have to be deposited in USA as your assets or in deposits,Can you kindly expose your wealth in USA, heard you started as fuel pump operator,Could you explain your land in Gregorys road,Colombo-7, where Keels 7th sense erected,is it yours, if so how you grab it,

    sobers Thursday, 14 February 2019 08:26 AM

    Many innocents disapeared with the White van culture. This included from all communities, of course majority of them were tamils. You were the secretary of the defense. Only the kith and kin who have lost the loved ones will know the pain.

    Buddhist Thursday, 14 February 2019 06:42 PM

    Ukrain Govt recently confirmed that they never sold any MIGs to Sri Lanka. What is he saying?

    Lal Thursday, 14 February 2019 08:11 PM

    If you talk more, you would make more mistakes.

    VELUPPILLAI THANGAVELU Tuesday, 19 February 2019 09:03 AM

    If you are privy to murder it is compulsory for you to give information to the police about the suspects immediately. Non-disclosure is a criminal offence against the law and the police should arrest Gotabaya immediately to find out who the two persons responsible for the murder of Lasantha.

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