ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

LTTE suspects grilled on escape tunnel

By Madhushala Senaratne

The LTTE suspects believed to have dug a tunnel under the prison walls while in custody at Kalutara prison are being questioned by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) to ascertain details on how they dug the tunnel. SSP Kalutara Ravi Wijegunawardena told The Sunday Times that the Kalutara South Police are conducting a separate investigation into the discovery of the tunnel and the possible involvement of prison officials.

“We have not had access to these LTTE suspects. However according to the information we have received so far, the detainees who were transferred to the Boossa prison camp are being questioned by the relevant police division,” he said. “This is a long process. We first need to identify the period within which the tunnel was dug and then identify the suspects held in custody during that time,” he said.

Meanwhile a list of prison officials on duty at Kalutara prison from 2004 to 2006 is to be compiled in another investigation being conducted by the Prisons Department, Major General (Rtd.) Vajira Wijegunawardana told The Sunday Times.“Some of the officials may have gone into retirement by now, while some may have been transferred,” he said.

A three-member team was appointed last week to conduct investigations into the discovery of the tunnel, the Prisons chief said. One of the aspects to be probed would be how the detainees dug a 200-metre long tunnel without the knowledge of prison officials.

The Prisons Commissioner also said that it was too early to comment on the ongoing investigations. Meanwhile the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is conducting a separate investigation, he said. However when contacted by The Sunday Times, DIG (CID) D.W. Prathapasinghe said he was unaware of any such investigation done by the CID.

An eight-foot high tunnel extending more than 200 metres (600 feet) towards the Kalu Ganga, was discovered at the Kalutara prison over a week ago. Some 64 LTTE cadres, including hardcore members were mere metres away from escape from the Kalutara high security prison a year ago, if they had not been transferred to the Welikada prison, the Prisons chief had told The Sunday Times.

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