Alleged coup attempt on the night of election proving to be a mirage Gammanpila says project meant to ‘fix’ former CJ
Posted on May 5th, 2015

By Shamindra Ferdinando -Island

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The police hadn’t been able to establish a prima facie case to proceed with the investigation  into an allegation that a section of the army sought to help former President Mahinda Rajapaksa remain in power in spite of his defeat at the Jan.8 presidential poll, authoritative sources told The Island  However, Police Headquarters spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera told The Island that the investigation had been concluded and the findings submitted to Attorney General Yuwanjana Wanasundera Wijayathilake for further action.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) recorded several statements, including that of former Army Commander the then Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake in connection with the investigation. The CID also questioned the then External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris because of him being present at Temple Trees on the presidential election night.

The CID also recorded a statement from AG Wijayathilake in addition to IGP N.K. Illangakoon and the then Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, PC, for being present there on the invitation of President Rajapaksa.

Gen. Ratnayake, on Saturday night, confirmed that the police had recorded his statement pertaining to the investigation. Consequent to the presidential poll, the new government appointed Crishanthe de Silva as Ratnayake’s successor. Former Chief of Staff De Silva was promoted to the rank of Lt. General.

The Island reliably learns that former Army Commander Gen. Daya Ratnayake is now tipped to be Sri Lanka’s next High Commissioner to Pakistan.

UPFA MP Prof. Peiris told The Island yesterday: “Although the CID recorded my statement at the onset of the inquiry, the police never contacted me again.” Prof. Peiris quoted the officers sent to record his statement as having admitted that they hadn’t got a statement from anyone to suggest discussion in Temple Trees regarding a possible army take-over.

Government spokesman and Health Minister Dr  Rajitha Senaratne wasn’t available for comment.

Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as well as army headquarters yesterday told The Island that contrary to reports, the army had not resorted to an internal investigation. They said the army cooperated with the investigation and remained committed to assist the police, though army headquarters never felt the necessity for an inquiry of its own.

A senior military official said that those dabbling in politics for personal gain had brought the army into disrepute. Although there had been no basis for accusations that the army planned to intervene on behalf of the former President, the conduct of some senior personnel caused unnecessary controversy, the official said.

Western Provincial Council member and attorney-at-law Udaya Gammanpila, who had been also questioned by the CID regarding the alleged coup attempt, yesterday told The Island that the investigation was meant to prove the presence of the then Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, PC, at Temple Trees on the night of the election day. The new government wanted to get rid of PC Peiris, therefore the CID undertook a high profile investigation at the behest of the government. The project was aimed at discrediting and preparing the ground for the then CJ’s unceremonious removal, Gammanpila said, adding that if the then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sought a military take-over, he would have summoned senior armed forces personnel loyal to him. Could anything be as absurd as involving CJ, External Affairs Minister and an attorney-at-law in a military take-over, Gammanpila said.

Gammanpila declined to comment on Somawansa Amarasinghe’s unexpected demand to expedite the coup investigation.

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