Former Ratnapura District parliamentarian Nalanda Ellwela who was killed 15 years ago on February 11, 1997 in the Kuruwita area is likely to be re-murdered in court, SLFPers in the Ratnapura District said.
The Nalanda Ellawela murder case, which was being heard for the past 15 years, had been taken up before the Ratnapura High Court this July 5th after a lapse of four years and seven months. The main respondent in the murder case, Susantha Punchinilame is a powerful minister in the UPFA government. It is well known that he had defected from the UNP to the government in order to overcome the murder cases filed against him.
Susantha Punchinilame was freed on the murder case of final year medical student Padmasiri Thrimavithana due to the lack of evidence. In 1988, Punchinilame and his goons have allegedly murdered Thrimavithana by clubbing him to death with nail laden poles.
When the Ellawela murder case was taken up on the 5th, the court was given the death certificate of the second respondent in the case, former Ratnapura Mayor, Mahinda Ratnathileka. The interesting fact is that the witnesses who were issued notice by court to be present when the case was taken up were not present in the courthouse.
A large number of files related to the Ellawela murder case were burnt during the fire at the Ratnapura court in 2000 and the suspect behind the arson attack, “Ambiga,” was mysteriously killed a few years later. Some witnesses in the case have left the country due to untold reasons.
The judge had directed to issue notice to the witnesses once again and has postponed the case till August 29th.
The SLFP members who gave us the information said that if the witnesses fail to appear before court on the August date, the judge was likely to lay by the case for several years or even set the respondents free due to the lack of evidence.
The SLFP members are greatly disturbed by the silence maintained by two of Ellawela’s good friends who are now senior ministers in the government, Dullas Alahapperuma and Dilan Perera.
Also, the media has also not reported the latest position of the Ellawela murder case due to the fear of angering the state. The media even failed to report that the Ellawela murder case was taken up before court on the 5th. The media has not responded positively to the requests by the Ellawela family to give publicity to the murder case.
The Ratnapura District SLFP members finally said that they were deeply saddened that the Ellawela family and the SLFPers in Ratnapura were helpless under an SLFP led government.