The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesperson, and Jaffna District MP, Suresh K. Premachandran was questioned by the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday (19), over a recent comment he made to an Indian newspaper over the military’s presence in Jaffna.
Premachandran told Colombo media that he was informed by the CID through the Kopay Police in Jaffna to be present at the CID Headquarters in Colombo on 12 April.
However, he had informed the CID of his inability to be in Colombo on 12 April, and had therefore been asked to be present on 19 April (Friday) to face an inquiry.
“I was asked whether I had given an interview to the Times of India on 4 April, over the military’s presence in the North and East. I was told by the CID officials that I am supposed to have told the newspaper that there are 150,000 Army personnel in the North and 20,000 Army personnel in the East, out of the total strength of 200, 000 Army personnel in the country.
“Responding to the CID officials, I said that that it was an interview over the phone, and I had given the details I had gathered from newspaper reports and various other sources. I was again told by the CID officers that my comment was more of a revelation of military secrets. I am a parliamentarian. I have spoken about the military’s presence in Jaffna. Not only I, but from our Leader, R. Sampanthan, and almost all TNA Parliamentarians have pointed out the military’s presence in the North and East. I told the CID officers that I am a Parliamentarian and not a defence official to reveal any secrets. The heavy military presence in Jaffna is not a military secret and everyone knows about it,” Premachandran said.
Elaborating further on the inquiry, he said the CID officers had also asked him on the comments he had made on the resettlement activities in the North.
According to Premachandran, the entire inquiry at the 4th floor of the CID had lasted for two hours, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, during which his statement had been recorded. Premachandran also said the officials had been very courteous. He however added that he felt the questions put to him by the officers, were in the manner, advising him to be cautious on military issues.
Meanwhile, Acting Police Spokesperson, Prishantha Jayakody, commenting on the CID inquiry on the TNA Parliamentarian, said he cannot comment on the inquiry, and that sleuths will not reveal anything of what they inquire into.
Premachandran is the second TNA Parliamentarian to be questioned by the CID in recent months, and follows an inquiry carried out on another TNA Parliamentarian, S. Sritharan.