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Nothing criminal: AG orders discharge of Long
By Ayesha R. Rafiq
The Attorney General this week directed the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the case filed by ASP Kulasiri Udugampola against the Army Commander, Director Military Intelligence, an officer and four soldiers of the special deep penetration unit in connection with the Athurugiriya safe house raid in January last year.

The Attorney General has said there isn't a 'trickle of evidence' to show they were engaged in criminal activities. ASP Udugampola had filed a police plaint in the Kandy Chief Magistrates Court charging that the cache of highly explosive ammunition found at the safe house posed a serious safety threat.

Sections of the newly elected UNF Government claimed at the time that the safe house was being maintained for political purposes with the ultimate aim of assassinating Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The report of the Attorney General sent in by Solicitor General C.R. de Silva PC dismisses these allegations and says that the commandos of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) known within the Army as the 'Long Rangers' maintained the safe house with the full knowledge and authority of the Army top brass and was for covert military operations against the LTTE.

The plaint had been filed unilaterally without recourse to the Attorney General's Department or the police high command. The IGP had reportedly asked Mr. Udugampola to withdraw the case but he had refused to do so, and the IGP had subsequently apologized to the Army Commander as he had been unaware that the case had been filed. Having called for the case records last month, the AG this week directed the IGP to withdraw the case due to the lack of evidence against the Army Commander and others who were charged.

The Military Intelligence Safe House at Athurugiriya which was used to conduct counter terrorist operations was raided by ASP Udugampola last year. The LRRP was known to have launched counter-assassination operations against the LTTE military leadership which resulted in the guerrillas having to complain that their leaders were being targeted.

Following the Kandy police raid on the Athurugiriya safe house, the commandos were forced to take legal action to defend themselves.

In the process their identities, as well as the identities of their informants became known to the police and the LTTE. At least four such informants have been killed by the LTTE since - all after the MoU signed with the Government.

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