Army intelligence not to be questioned in Sivaram killing

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 23:03 GMT]
The senior police officer tasked with investigating the abduction and murder last month of Tamil political columnist and military analyst, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, said Tuesday that he would not interview military officials simply on the basis of allegations. Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Division, Sarath Lugoda, was apathetic over the high profile murder, listeners to his interview by the BBC (Sinhala) service said.

"We have questioned several people and conducting investigations on several directions", SSP Lugoda said.

His force had mainly questioned Mr. Sivaram's friends and those who had connections with him, he said.

Journalists who were with Mr. Sivaram at the time of his abduction and also people who had communicated with him on the day of the assassination were also questioned.

Asked whether Army intelligence personnel were questioned, SSP Lugoda said that though there are public allegations no specific evidence is produced to compel the police to do so.

"It is not possible to question them without information. There are allegations but nobody has come forward with any evidence", he told the BBC.

Mr. Sivaram, was abducted from across a Colombo police station on the night of April 28, 2004 by four men who loitered whilst he was having dinner with journalist friends.

Mr. Sivaram’s body was dumped near the high-security Parliament complex a few hours later. He had been shot in the head with a 9mm pistol.

Anti-LTTE Tamil paramilitaries operating with the assistance of Sri Lankan military intelligence are widely suspected to be responsible for the abduction and Mr. Sivaram’ subsequent murder.

Mr. Sivaram had been a harsh critic of the renegade LTTE commander, Karuna, who defected to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) after his six-week rebellion against the LTTE was crushed over the Easter weekend last year.

"We could find no clue as yet but continue with our investigations.” SSP Sarath Lugoda, told the BBC.

Investigations are focussed on the vehicle in which Sivaram was abducted and his mobile phone, he added.

Police sources confirmed that although the make of the off-road vehicle into which Mr. Sivaram was abducted is not common in Sri Lanka, SSP Lugoda’s investigators are yet to follow up on registered ones.

The police could not progress on the Mr. Sivaram’s phone, which has been ringing intermittently since the murder, either.

“We are trying to trace the mobile phone and in contact with the phone company, SSP Lugoda told the BBC.

Mobile communication experts say tracing phones is relatively straight forward as phones regularly register themselves with local stations and its movement is automatically logged.


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