12 years later; Lasantha’s killers still at large

12 years later; Lasantha’s killers still at large

12 years later; Lasantha’s killers still at large

Written by Staff Writer

07 Mar, 2021 | 8:39 pm

COLOMBO (News1st):  The suspects linked to the murder of The former Editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge are yet to be identified, 12 years since the horrific incident took place in broad daylight.

Last night we focused on the broad scope and state of the investigations, following Lasantha’s daughter, Ahimsa Wickramatunge’s Opinion Piece to The Washington Post.

How was the murder carried out?

At the time, the judicial medical officer of the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital claimed that Lasantha Wickrematunga had sustained 12 gunshot injuries.

But the Government Analyst as well as the Professor who performed the surgery on the journalist ruled out shooting in their reports.

When Lasantha’s remains were exhumed on the 27th of September 2016, it was confirmed that he had not died of gunshot injuries.

Question Number 1: Were the weapons used in the murder recovered during investigations?

On the 27th of January 2009, a motorcycle belonging to a resident of Vavuniya, believed to be used in the killing, was recovered from a swamp in Attidiya.

At the time of recovery, it had been more than a week since two individuals, including the motorcycle owner, had been abducted and murdered.

Question Number 2: How can the mystery of the motorcycle and its owners be explained?

03. The notebook containing vital evidence

Lasantha Wickrematunge’s notebook, where he allegedly noted down the number of the motorcycle that had been following him on that fateful day, was transferred from the possession of the Officer-In-Charge of the Mt. Lavinia Police Crimes Branch of a Deputy Police Chief in the area at that time.

Both officers were arrested in February 2018 over charges of concealing evidence but were granted bail on the 2nd of July in the same year.

Question Number 3: What happened to the notebook and the vital piece of evidence?

04. Telephone records

Investigations carried out by the Terrorism Investigation Division revealed five telephone numbers believed to be linked to the killing.

A resident of Nuwara Eliya, identified as the bearer of the National Identity Card registered to these numbers, was arrested along with an army intelligence officer.

But the owner of these numbers had died in prison on the 13th of October 2011, while the intelligence officer had been released from charges due to lack of evidence on the 6th of September 2013.

Question Number 4: What happened to the telephone records?

05. Investigations carried out by various units.

On the 25th of November 2009, investigations launched by the Crimes Branch of the Mount Lavinia Police into the incident had been transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department.

These investigations were passed on to the Terrorism Investigation Division following the presidential election in 2010.

The Officer-In-Charge of the Terrorism Investigation Division is now serving as its director.

In 2015, the task of carrying out the investigations, which bore no result, had been entrusted with the Criminal Investigations Department.

The Criminal Investigation Department director who uncovered several vital pieces of evidence at that time is now in prison.

Assistant Police Superintendent Sisira Tissera, who was also part of the investigations, has been given a transfer while Police Inspector Nishantha de Silva had fled the country.

Question Number 5: Why were there so many changes to the investigative team?

In addition to being the Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge was a member of the MTV/MBC/News 1st Media Network and a trusted colleague.

12 Years have passed since his murder. His daughter, Ahimsa, recently put down her anguish in an opinion piece, published in The Washington Post.

The Truth can at times be hidden, blocked or suppressed. It can even be twisted.

But just like the sun rises each morning and dispels the darkness, so will the Truth rise with absolute certainty and expose lies and deceit.

There is NO escape from the Truth.

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