News

Phone logs tampered with

By Santhush Fernando

A high-profile case where incumbent Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravindra Wijeguneratne was charged for his alleged links to the abductors of 11 youth took a new twist last week with the court being informed that telephone records of certain accused were tampered with, The Sunday Morning learnt.

In a strange turn of events, the Colombo Fort Magistrate last Wednesday (6) was informed by the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that the telephone records of certain accused persons in the case, accessed and available only to the private telephone operator in question, had been inexplicably deleted.

“We understand that the telephone records of the crucial two to three-month period where 11 youth were kidnapped, had been deleted,” a highly-placed source told The Sunday Morning.
“This data was tampered with purposely to hamper investigations,” he lamented. When contacted Attorney-at-Law of the aggrieved party – Achala Senevirathna – confirmed that the court was informed of the tampering of the crucial records.

“Despite the loss of these records, using remaining phone records, the Police was able to prove that Chaminda alias ‘Annachchi’ (who was identified by both the mother and sister of one of the abducted during identification parades to have arrived to collect the ransom) was in constant contact with Lt. Cdr. Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias Navy Sampath, who is said to be the mastermind of the abduction and illegal detention of 11 youths at the Trincomalee Naval Base,” Senevirathna said.

Lt. Commander Galagamage Laksiri, who is a key witness in the case, was assaulted by Navy personnel allegedly in front of the CDS himself on 25 November last year. When Lt. Cdr. Laksiri arrived at the Fort Police Station to record a statement, naval officers pressurised the Police not to record the same, and when the Police visited the Navy Mess the next day, it was revealed that CDS’ aides had allegedly tampered with vital CCTV footage.