Senior lawyers point out the statement made by Prime Minister Mahinda Rapajaksa claiming that all suspects of the assassination of assassination of eminent Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar were arrested during his presidency was untrue. The PM made the statement in Parliament on 21st October.
One suspect only!
Senior lawyers are questioning why the court closed the case after the death of the only suspect arrested in connection with the murder, who had been in custody for 14 years, if all those involved in the murder had been arrested. The murder case, which was heard in the Colombo High Court under No. HC/42/26/2008, was concluded in June last year. The reason for this was the death of Muttiah Sahadevan on June 22, 2019 at the Colombo National Hospital. The suspect was admitted to the National Hospital by prison officials due to health complications from kidney disease. The decision was taken after informing the court.
Story of the suspect
The former minister was assassinated by a sniper on 12th August, 2005 at his residence in Colombo 07. Subsequently, on 13th August, 2005, Sahadevan was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division. He was a resident of Polhengoda, Kirulapone, Colombo. His wife is Dhanalakshmi Sahadevan. They have two children. He had been working as a day laborer for a living.
Cutting a branch of a tree
On August 13, Sahadevan was on his way to the Kirulapone market with his wife when he was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division. He was then taken to the house of a man named Thalesingham on Bullers Road. CCD pointed to the branches of a tree near the balcony of the house and questioned whether he had cut them down.
He admitted that he had cut the branches about a month earlier. The owner of the house, Thalesingham, had also said at the time that it was done on his instructions. Then Sahadevan was taken to the Colombo Crimes Division.
14 years in custody as a suspect
Investigators had suspected that the bullets that killed Kadirgamar were fired from a window near the balcony. However, the police had not taken action to arrest the owner of the house where the tree with the branches is located. He was detained for three months in the Colombo Crimes Division and then remanded on November 16, 2005.
He was held in remand for 14 years until his death. In 2008, Sahadevan was indicted in Colombo No. 1 High Court on charges of plotting and aiding and abetting the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar.