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Another Navy suspect arrested

 The CID had arrested retired Navy officer Luthuwahandige Thushara Mendis on January 23, in connection with the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths in 2008.

He was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on January 24 and ordered to be remanded.

According to the CID, Mendis had served as the senior Master Chief Petty Officer in the Special Intelligence Unit headed by Lieutenant Commander Sumith Ranasinghe, and had been involved in the abduction of Ali Anver in Katunayake.

Ali Anver was an informant to this intelligence group. Mendis had also been part of the Navy Special Intelligence team that had allegedly taken the eight abducted youths to the Gun side underground camp at the Trincomalee Naval Base, from where they were being held at the Naval camp in Chaithya Road, Colombo Fort.

A CID source told the Daily News that Mendis had been in charge of a boat which provided support to this special intelligence team, especially in the disposing of bodies. He had served under Ranasinghe from 2008 to 2009 attached to the Parakrama Naval base.

CID investigations had revealed that on October 17, 2008, the intelligence team had obtained an open warrant and raided a house near the Dehiwela Police Station and arrested five youths including Rajiv Naganathan, Pradeep Vishvanathan, Thilakeshwaran Ramalingam, Mohommed Jilan and Mohommed Saajith.

The five youths were allegedly taken in their black Indigo car (KC 5565) and held at the ‘Pittu Bambuwa’ jail under Lt.Commander Hettiarachchi.

However, during the period from December 31, 2008 to the end of March 2009, one of the abducted youth, Rajiv Naganathan had been in contact with his parents Govindasamy Naganathan and Maarachchige Sarojini Perera.

The Navy personnel guarding these abducted youths had lent them their mobile phones for them to contact their families.

The CID sources said that Ali Anver had been the informant to this special Navy team, but he too disappeared in 2009. However, it was revealed during the investigations that in fact, Rajiv Naganathan had told his parents that Ali Anver had also been arrested and he was being beaten up. The five boys had been later taken to Trincomalee by Mendis and Ranasinghe.

Further, the Indigo car had been taken to Giriulla by Thammitage Dharmadasa and Aluthgedara Upul Bandara, who had also given evidence.

The duo were residents of Giriulla. Further, several Navy personnel too had given evidence confirming the detention of these youths. CID sources also added that they had obtained evidence that the Indigo car had later been handed over to the former Navy Spokesman Commander Dassanayake. Further investigations are under way.