Army, defence secretary tried to mislead the courts

The Army and defence secretary Kapila Vaidyaratne have tried to mislead the courts in order to obtain permission for retired Maj. Gen. Amal Karunasekara to go overseas.

Karunasekara is prohibited from foreign trips over the court cases into the ‘Sunday Leader’ editor Lasantha Wickrematunge murder and ‘The Nation’ former editor Keith Noyarh’s abduction and assault.

On March 29, he motioned the court for permission to go to India, saying that he has been entrusted with the Sri Lankan coordination of a special training at the Indian Defence Academy. A top military official made representations and submitted a letter said to have been signed by the defence secretary.

Upon investigation, the CID found that it was not the defence secretary Vaidyaratne who has signed it, and also that the letter was only a photocopy.

The Army’s legal directorate has said that another officer has signed on behalf of Vaidyaratne, who was said to be overseas, and that the original of the letter could be submitted to courts.

The CID objected permission for Karunasekara to travel overseas, saying he needs to be questioned over several assaults and murders.

The magistrate permitted Karunasekara to leave the country, and ordered him to submit the original of the letter on Monday.

However, the CID continued investigations and found that Vaidyaratne has not gone overseas, and that he had been in Kandalama, and raised the matter in the court.

The magistrate is inquiring into the matter.

Vaidyaratne has avoided the CID, which wanted to ask him about the matter, which makes it clear he too, is aiding Karunasekara to flee the country.

We admit Karunasekara to be an honest officer. He refused to give a statement, upon being summoned from Eretria by the then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that Sarath Fonseka was linked to the Wickrematunge murder and assaults on journalists.

What he should do now is to tell the truth to the investigators with regard to the targeting of journalists during the previous regime.

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