2nd Lead (Added details)

Police blame political party for Sivaram murder - paper

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 June 2005, 14:17 GMT]
Sri Lankan Police have cracked the murder of journalist Sivaram Dharmaratnam but are keeping it under wraps until all suspects are arrested, The Sunday Leader newspaper claimed this week, adding a political party supportive of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling coalition is to blame. The claim was echoed in by the Sunday Times’ defence column.

The Sunday Leader said it learnt "the murder plot was carried out by a political party supportive of the government and with close links to another political party which is holding a ministerial office in government."

Mr. Sivaram, a senior TamilNet editor, who also wrote a popular column under the non-de-plume Taraki, was abducted and murdered by four unidentified group on April 28 when when he stepped out of a restaurant in Bambalapitiya.

Mr. Sivaram's body was found dumped near parliament in the early hours of the following day, Friday April 29.

The 4x4 vehicle into which he was bundled was loitering nearby, even though there a police station across the street.

The suspected assassins, according to witnesses were heard to be talking in both Sinhala and Tamil whilst they were waiting for Sivaram to come out of the restaurant, the investigation has revealed.

The breakthrough, The Sunday Leader learns, "came after the assassins left a vital trail which led to material evidence in the case being unearthed."

"The Sunday Leader though in full possession of the details of the breakthrough will refrain from publishing the details to enable the investigators to apprehend all the suspects," the paper said.

"However, if any attempt is made to hush the investigation because it will embarrass any persons or political parties a full disclosure will follow next week," the paper warned.

The story was filed by the columnist who writes under the nom-de-plume Suranimala and produces the weekly's political column.

The claim was echoed by the Sunday Times’ Defence Correspondent, Mr. Iqbal Athas.

“Police have made a significant breakthrough in Mr. Sivaram's murder and the details are likely to become public soon,” he wrote this week in his ‘Situation Report’ column.


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