Lanka editor arrested, grilled and released for Fonseka story

By Leon Berenger

The pro-JVP Sinhala weekly newspaper Lanka editor, Chandana Sirimalwatte, was arrested yesterday and later released after nearly five hours of grilling over a headline suggesting a serious rift between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.

Mr. Sirimalwatte told the Sunday Times he was asked to disclose his sources but he had not done so.
Earlier in the day a spokesperson for the paper said the editor was picked up by CID officials accompanied by the Homagama police at a play ground in area.

CID Chief Nandana Munasinghe told the Sunday Times investigators wanted to know the source of information for the story on October 16.

He said a police team had visited the newspaper’s office at Delkanda on Friday night but it was closed. Later they had spoken to the editor and requested him come to the CID office, but he refused. A police team visited the newspaper office yesterday also but it was closed. “This is unusual because the office is usually open on Saturdays,” DIG Munasinghe said.

Before his arrest, Mr. Sirimalwatte said the office was closed yesterday since it was Deepavali and that he had no intention of going to the CID office on a holiday.

Meanwhile military spokesperson Udaya Nanayakkara also has denied any rift between President Rajapaksa and General Fonseka, who is now the Chief of Defence Staff, amid speculation he might be the common opposition candidate for the next presidential election.

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