PSD chief’s name transpires in probe on attempt to kill SB

Controversial head of the PSD SP Nihal Karunaratne’s name has transpired in the ongoing investigation into the alleged bid to assassinate government frontliner S.B. Dissanayake when he was electioneering in the Hanguranketha electorate ahead of the December 5 parliamentary elections, a senior Attorney General Department spokesman said yesterday.

Responding to inquiries, the spokesman said that " Karunaratne’s name transpired during the ongoing probe."

The government has accused Karunaratne of sending a nine man group to Hanguranketha, nursed by the former SLFP General Secretary, to kill before the polls day. The alleged conspiracy came to light when Sub Inspector Rohana Dissanayake of the Maturata police arrested the heavily armed group at Padiyapallela close to a meeting organised by ex-minister Renuka Herath on December 3 .

Two PSD personnel, three security forces deserters and four gangsters were among the suspects arrested while they were travelling in two vehicles belonging to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

Police has already recorded Karunaratne’s statement.

Vehicles belonging to the CPC were also alleged to have used by soldiers accused of carrying out polls day massacre of 10 SLMC supporters at Udathalawinna.

Investigators were also probing into the PSD’s alleged involvement in a series of other incidents including the armed attack on Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunge’s residence on June 16, 1998, attack on journalists covering UNP led anti-government protests on July 15, 1999, killing of Satana Editor Rohana Kumara, attack on movie star Anoja Weerasinghe’s Moneragala residence on January 2, 2000, assassination of ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam on January 5, 2000 and the attack on Rukantha and Chandraleka Gunatilake carried out on January 20, 2000.

Investigators believe that Baddegana Sanjeeva killed late last year too had been involved in most of these incidents. Sanjeeva was shot days before the polls allegedly by one - time close associates after he allegedly conspired to switch sides and join the then opposition.