Ex-Navy Chief challenges his imminent arrest:
Justice Priyantha Jayawardane yesterday recused himself from the Bench which is hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda seeking an Interim Order from the Supreme Court from being arrested.
The petition came up before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justices Priyantha Jayawardane and Murdu N.B.Fernando and deferred for March 7 for support for granting Leave to Proceed.
The petitioner cited Officer in Charge Nishantha Silva and Director Shani Abeysekera of the Organised Crimes Investigation Unit as well as DIG CID Ravi Seneviratne, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and Attorney General as Respondents.
Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera and Niran Ankatel instructed by Sanath Wijeyawardane appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appeared for the Attorney General.
Petitioner states as follows:
On the 10th of May 2009, he received notice of an allegation that his security officer Lt. Cdr. Sampath had abducted certain youth and detained them within the Navy premises in Trincomalee.
On 10th May, the Petitioner was advised that the said Lt. Cdr. Sampath may in fact be guilty of committing the said offence.
On 28th May 2009, Lt. Cdr Sampath’s officer’s cabin was opened by the Naval Provost in the presence of the Police and many suspicious material were found including large amounts of cash, promissory notes and identity documents of other persons. On 10th June 2009, Lt.Cdr. Sampath was arrested whilst absconding at the Army Head Quarters. .
He laments that on 13th September 2016, Lt.Cdr. Welagedara of the Sri Lanka Navy provided a false statement to IP Nishantha Silva at the CID, implicating him and several others including Admiral Colombage, Capt. Dasanayake and Cdr. Ranasinghe, stating that these officers have threatened him with death.
On 27th September 2016, IP Nishantha Silva filed a “B” report at Fort Magistrate’s Court based on Lt. Cdr. Welagedara’s statement.
On 30th September, he was summoned in writing to appear at the CID on 5th and 6th of October 2016 to provide a statement. On 5th October 2016, he appeared before the CID.
The Petitioner states that he became aware that Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah (as he was then) made a statement to the 1st Respondent, which was reported to Court in a B Report dated 2nd August 2017.
The said Travis Sinniah was a Deputy Area Commander East (Trincomalee) when the Petitioner was Navy Commander.
In the said statement supposed to have been made, Sinniah is said to have claimed that: (a) Illegal detention cells were functioning under the Petitioner’s supervision at the Trincomalee Navy camp known as ‘Gunsite’; (b) The Petitioner had instructed Travis Sinniah not to supervise or conduct any activities with regard to these cells; (c) the Petitioner and several others were aware of the fact that persons were detained at these cells and later killed; and (d) the Petitioner is responsible for killings of detainees held in the said cells.
The Petitioner claims that the 1st Respondent and other Respondents did not at any stage seek to interview the Petitioner or obtain any statement from the Petitioner with respect to the false allegations said to have been made by Travis Sinniah.
The Petitioner pleads that no steps whatever have been taken in respect of the allegations by Lt. Cdr. Welagedera and Admiral Sinniah.