Karannagoda deemed flight risk | Sunday Observer

Karannagoda deemed flight risk

24 February, 2019

The Controller General of Immigration and Emigration has been ordered to prevent former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda from leaving the country, after CID sleuths informed court on Friday (22) that the Admiral was a flight risk.

Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake issued the order after OIC, CID Gang Robberies Branch Nishantha Silva filed a B report saying that Admiral Karannagoda had evaded summons to be present at the CID for questioning on Thursday (21).

Notice had been sent to Admiral Karannagoda’s Polhengoda address through the Kirulapone police, but was returned on the basis that the former Navy Chief did not reside on the premises, the CID informed Court. A person identifying himself as the Admiral’s brother had told the police officer that the former Navy Chief was residing in Pitakotte. However, there had been no one at the premises in Baddegana, Pitakotte when police visited to deliver the notice. IP Silva told Court that attempts were made to contact the former Navy Commander on his mobile telephone, but the service has been disconnected.

The CID has written to the Navy’s Legal Division, seeking their assistance to locate the former Commander in a letter dated February 21, 2019, but had not received a reply yet, IP Silva told the Fort Magistrate.

Navy Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva declined to comment on the former Navy Chief’s location, saying the matter was pending in courts. Asked about if the Navy was aware of the location of Admiral Karannagoda’s security detail, the Navy Commander told Sunday Observer that he was not at liberty to comment on security arrangements.

The shocking B report filed by the CID names Admiral Karannagoda as the 14th Suspect in a gruesome abduction for ransom racket allegedly run by Sri Lanka Navy personnel, which resulted in the abduction and suspected murder of 11 young men from Colombo in 2008-2009.

Reporting progress on his investigation to the Fort Magistrate’s Court, IP Silva said that following consultations on February 2, 2019, the Attorney General’s Department had informed the CID in writing that there was sufficient evidence to indict Suspects 1-14, , as criminally liable under Penal Code sections 356 – kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine a person, 338 – wrongful confinement for the purpose of extorting property or constraining to an illegal act and 296 – punishment for murder, aiding and abetting to commit said offences or conspiring to commit the offences.

The Attorney General has also advised the CID to produce Admiral Karannagoda before the Magistrate after recording his statement. The AG has recommended that Admiral Karannagoda be charged for committing offences under Penal Code Sections 338 and 296, for aiding, abetting and conspiring to commit the offences, and also under Section 199, which deals with the intentional omission to give information of an offence by a person bound to inform, and under Section 200, dealing with providing false information about an offence committed.

High ranking Navy witnesses have provided statements to the CID that then Navy Chief Admiral Karannagoda had been informed that his Personal Security Officer (PSO) was involved in an abduction for ransom racket, the B report filed in court last Friday said. One CID witness, Commodore Wijaya Bandara has given evidence that he had learned about the abduction of five boys including Rajeev Naganathan from Dehiwela on May 6, 2009, and relayed this information to the Commander of the Navy four days later, on May 10, 2009, according to the B report. Commodore Bandara claimed Admiral Karannagoda made inquiries about the allegation from then Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Jagath Ranasinghe, who had denied the claim.

CID investigations found that an internal probe conducted by Navy Intelligence Director Ananda Guruge had uncovered a team including Lt. Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias Navy Sampath had been behind the abductions of the boys in Colombo and detained them at the naval prison known as Pittubambuwa at Chaithya Road, Fort and subsequently at detention cells at the Trinco Navy base. Guruge’s unit had also found that the abductees had been executed while at the Gunside prison in Trincomalee.

The CID B Report said then Navy Chief Karannagoda had been apprised of this information, including details of naval personnel involved in the abduction and murder of the young men on May 27, 2009. But while being privy to the findings of the Navy’s internal investigation, Commander Karannagoda had failed to take action against the Navy personnel implicated in the alleged abduction racket, the B report notes.

Instead, concealing this information, Karannagoda had lodged a complaint with then Colombo Crimes Division DIG Anura Senanayake, about former Lt. Commander Sampath Moonesinghe – now the first suspect in the navy abductions case – claiming he was involved in terrorist activity. Karannagoda had requested the CCD to investigate documents and objects confiscated from Moonesinghe’s room during a raid, the B report states.

IP Nishantha Silva told court that his investigations had revealed that if the then Commander Karannagoda had conducted matters the way he should have at the very outset of obtaining this information, the lives of the abducted boys might have been spared.

All three suspects the Attorney General had instructed the CID to produce before courts were absconding, the B report filed in court noted. Since the suspects had suddenly moved from their respective residences, it has given rise to substantial suspicion that there could flee the country, the CID said. IP Silva therefore, sought orders to prevent them from leaving the island. 



Navy Commander clarifies

In the article titled "Karannagoda deemed flight risk" published in the Sunday Observer on February 24, the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva was inadvertently quoted saying he declined to comment on the whereabouts of ex Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda and the location of the security detail provided to the Retired Admiral. Vice Admiral has since clarified that he had not communicated with the writer.

Reporter's Note: Last Saturday, as a result of a mix-up, the Sunday Observer called the mobile number assigned to a former Navy Commander, who currently serves as high ranking military officer, and to whom the quote should in fact be attributed. We regret the error.