More information revealed in connection with the shooting at Welikada prison.

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Former Commissioner of Prison Emil Ranjan Lamahewa says that Mr. Mervin Silva who came to the prison proposed to him to make a confession in court against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary and present President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in connection with the deaths of inmates at the Welikada Prison. Giving evidence before the Commission to Inquire into Political Victimization this afternoon he said the proposal was made to him in the middle of 2018. Mr. Emil Ranjan Lamahewa has lodged a complaint at the Commission against filing a case at the Colombo special high court during the time of the previous government on false and fabricated evidence. When the court case was taken up this morning, he said that his name has been linked to the incident at Welikada prison on fabricated charges for political reasons due to relations of his brothers and due to duty disagreements. Mr. Lamahewa said that Mr. Mervin Silva had come to meet him when he visited senior military officials and some frontline Buddhist monks who have been remanded and without his approval or knowledge. He said that Mr. Rangajeewa of the Police Narcotic Bureau was staying close to him at that time. Meanwhile, former Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe has made a statement in this regard by holding a press conference. Giving evidence before the Commission Mahara Prison Superintendent Jagath Chandana Weerasinghe said that when former Minister Thalatha Athukorala made an observation tour of the prison, she held discussions with him about the release of Mr. Emil Ranjan. He said that former Minister Thalatha Athukorala asked him to say the names of persons who gave orders in connection with the Welikada prison incident.

Mr. Chandana Weerasinghe said that when he informed that he was not aware about such incident, the Minister said then he has to get release after appearing in the court case. He said that since there was an environment against Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a statement of the Minister to announce the persons who ordered the incident, he felt the aim was to link Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s name with the incident. He said that Prison Superintendents led by him sent a letter to former President Maithripala Sirisena about the innocence of Mr. Emil Ranjan who was a former Chairman of Prison Superintendents Association. He said that he and other officials were happy to note that the rumour stating that Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa was going to contest as a common candidate. He said that the reason was that a person with disciplined and knowledgeable politician with dignity such as Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not been elected in the history of the country before. He said that they believed there would be a significant change in the country if Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa became the President. He pointed out that a major change is taken place in prisons with the intervention of the President and there will be a clear change in prison activities in future with the appointment of a Director General from the Prisons Department.

Meanwhile, giving evidence before the commission another witness said that a person called Ashoka Jayathunga came to Welikada Prison with a message from the former Prime Minister’s Office to meet Mr. Emil Ranjan Lamahewa.

When inquired, Mr. Emil Ranjan said that he was asked to state the name of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the Welikada Prison incident and he was told that he would be freed soon if it was done. The Commission met today under the Chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyrathne. Former Appeal Court Judge Chandra Jayathilaka and former IGP Chandra Fernando are other members of the Commission.

Meanwhile, a member of the Bandula Atapattu Committee appointed by the previous government to investigate into the incident, former Senior DIG Gunasena Thenabandu gave evidence today. He said that the committee submitted a 540 page report including 17 recommendations. He said that the committee was appointed by the Ministry Secretary on the instructions of then Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera after three days following the incident. However, he said that appointing another Committee by the good governance government without considering that committee report, is questionable. He said that the aim was to act against Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a part of the process against state officials during the good governance government.

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