For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
UNP Kalutara District MP, Ajith P. Perera, yesterday told Parliament he was informed by the Ministry of Defence there was evidence to prove Prageeth Ekneligoda had been abducted by an organized group. MP Perera, participating in the debate on Parliamentary Scholarship Board (Repeal) Bill, said he was also informed by the ministry that the abductors of Ekneligoda have not been identified yet.
The MP tabled a letter he had received from the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. The letter dated 12 June 2013 was signed by K.A. Ranjith, Additional Secretary (Parliament and Civil Affairs), on behalf of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
The letter said: “Sandhya Ekneligoda had made a complaint on 25 January 2010 to the Homagama Police that her husband Prageeth Ekneligoda of the address No 136/2, Suhada Mawatha, Hiripitiya, Pannipitiya had gone missing since 24 January 2010. Officers attached to the Mirihana Special Crime Investigation Unit investigated the complaint and reported their findings to the Homagama Magistrate’s Court under the case No M/C 7414/2010.
“Later, the investigations were handed over to the Colombo Crimes Division on 26 February 2010.
“According to the findings, the person abducted had been working as a freelance journalist and had contributed mostly to the Lankanewsweb online news site.
“The police have investigated the details in the SIM cards of the mobile phone numbers used by the abducted person. The information extracted not yet yielded exact details of the last person, Ekneligoda had met with. Accordingly, the information reported so far have not been able to provide a base to ascertain who had abducted him.
“Police investigated a person, who is said to have come from Dambulla to meet Ekneligoda, and the details of their telephone conversations. It has been found the telephones that were used to maintain contacts with the person said to have come from Dambulla, had been disconnected following the
abduction of Ekneligoda. Among those contacts a number of contacts were from European countries.
“It has been ascertained that up to now, some other numbers that were used to maintain contacts with the two telephones used by Prageeth Ekneligoda have not changed their SIM cards. Investigations are being conducted in this regard.
“The Senior DIG Western Province reported that according to the details found so far from investigations, information has been found to believe that Prageeth Ekneligoda had been abducted by an organized group.”