(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Retired Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama told the Presidential Commission to Investigate Political Victimization that former CID Inspector Nishantha Silva pressured him to make a statement that the then Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was involved in journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder.
Testifying before the Presidential Commission on Tuesday, Udalagama said during the last government’s tenure the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) summoned 995 military intelligence officers including himself to make statements regarding the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge.
Former CID Inspector Nishantha Silva claiming that information has been received that the then Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was behind the assassination of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and the recent attacks on journalists pressured him to make a statement to confirm the claim, the witness testified.
The witness said when he was produced before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court after arresting him in connection with the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, CID Inspector Nishantha Silva pointing a finger at the witness told the court that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with such military intelligence officers had assassinated Lasantha Wickrematunge in order to cover up the frauds in the MIG deal.
Udalagama told the Commission that although he was informed that he was arrested for abducting Lasantha Wickrematunge’s driver and threatening him, when he was produced before the Gampaha Magistrate’s Court in connection with the assault on Rivira Editor-in-Chief Upali Tennakoon, the B report had stated that he was the person who had killed journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge.