Teacher known to Douglas brought suicide cadre
Attempt on EPDPleader’s life:May 29, 2012, 12:00 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
EPDP leader Douglas Devananda yesterday told the Colombo High Court that he wouldn’t want an LTTE handler, who had been allegedly involved in an attempt to assassinate him in July 2004, punished though he was convinced of the suspect’s involvement.
Minister Devananda was making a special statement in the High Court
with the permission of HC Judge K. H. Sumithrapala, when an LTTE woman operative arrested on July 7, 2004 at his Kollupitiya office, No 64, Galle Road, Colombo 3, was produced in Court over her alleged role in the assassination attempt.
The Jaffna District MP identified a woman produced in Court as the LTTE operative, who had brought a woman suicide cadre into his then Kollupitiya office. The minister said that she had established contact with him years ago in Jaffna and gradually won his confidence to the extent of supporting his campaign for the 2004 parliamentary polls.
Asked by defence lawyer A. Vinayagamoorthy whether the operative, a pre-school teacher in 2000, had been paid by his ministry, Devananda answered in the affirmative. He said that on several occasions he had met the operative’s request for money as she was in financial difficulty. In spite of that she had been involved with the LTTE and conspired to assassinate him, he said, recalling how operatives got close to their intended targets before taking them.
Minister Devananda admitted that even after he had been warned of the possibility of her alleged complicity in an LTTE operation targeting him, he kept in touch with the woman, though she wasn’t allowed to work at his Jaffna political office. The minister said that the woman had visited his office on more than one occasion before coming along with the woman suicide cadre on July 7, 2004. "When those guarding me were alerted to the presence of a suspicious woman who refused to allow a body check before being allowed to see me, I knew she could be a suicide bomber. As I didn’t want to cause her to trigger a blast within the compound, I told my aides to tell her to leave the building if she wasn’t well and come back again some other day. But, I told my security personnel to get hold of her as she left the building and cautiously take her to the nearby Kollupitiya police station, where she could be searched."
The minister said that as he knew the lives of those at the police station were at risk, he had repeatedly tried to call the Officer-in Charge of the police station to warn him but couldn’t get through to him. The minister said he felt sorry for the officers and men who had lost their lives in the blast intended for him.
Responding to Defence Counsel, the minister said that the operative, now seated in the Court couldn’t have been unaware that her friend was a suicide cadre. The minister said that they had come to his office together on a Wednesday, but sought to meet him separately. Although, the suicide cadre had left the building when she was told she could come some other day if she was not ready to undergo a body check as she wasn’t well, the handler had stayed back, the minister said.
The minister said that the handler had written him a letter while being detained explaining the circumstances, in which she was compelled by the LTTE to play a role in the operation targeting him. Responding to the Prosecution Counsel, the minister said that the letter was probably at his Jaffna political office and could be produced in Court. The Defence Counsel twice consulted the LTTE handler, who confirmed writing a letter to the minister from prison, while Devananda said that the letter had been received through the Prisons Department.
During the conflict, the LTTE targeted Devananda on a dozen occasions in the north and Colombo after he switched allegiance to the Sri Lankan government during the tenure of President Ranasinghe Premadasa.
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