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Swiss consulate officer's phone conversations that unfolded in court

Swiss consulate officer's phone conversations that unfolded in court

Criminal investigation department informed Colombo chief magistrate Miss Lanka Jayaratna yesterday (21) that former director and senior superintendent of police, Shani Abeysekera and former chairman of Lake House, Krishantha Cooray and former chief editor of Sunday Observer, Darsha Bastian and others have been linked to the incident of Mrs. Garnier Banister Francis the visa officer
of Swiss consulate in Sri Lanka as revealed according to specialist reports.This was exposed when the magisterial inquiry was once again called yesterday (21) in connection with Mrs. Garnier Banister Francis who is alleged to have given false evidence by inconveniencing the republic. 

The chief magistrate who gave instructions to criminal investigation department to call for a specialist report by forwarding the suspect's mobile phone to government analyst to obtain a report about the suspect's phone data further instructed the government analyst to forward it as a confidential report to court as well as the criminal investigation department. Deputy solicitor general Janaka Bandara, state senior attorney at law, Lakmini Giriyagama, assistant superintendent of police, Merril Ranjan Lamahewa, chief inspector of police, Ranjith Munasingha and police inspector A.M. Lakmal  and a team of officers on behalf of criminal investigation department provided necessary information on behalf of the petitioner party. 

The mobile phone of suspect Mrs. Garnier Banister Francis which was in the custody of Swiss consulate was taken into the possession of the court last date of hearing and after its data was copied, at was handed over the suspect-party who informed this to court. When the magisterial inquiry was called yesterday (21) in court suspect Mrs. Garnier Banister Francis appeared in court while still under bail. Though a specialist report was called for regarding calls taken by both Pradeep Francis, husband of suspect Mrs. Garnier Banister and his friend Dushyantha Selvaraj covering the period November 25, 2019; the CID presented information to court by a further 'B' report regarding the telephone coverage zones and written location relevant to those telephone numbers and a map depicting telephone exchange towers relating to the calls concerned. 

Though Garnier Francis who says she was kidnapped mentions that the kidnappers questioned her as to whether it is true that she maintained an illicit connection with police inspector Nishantha Silva; the CID informed court that she has made false statements at the investigation as was revealed. As such, when questioning her why she gave false information regarding Nishantha Silva, the CID has said that a host of information was exposed related to scrutiny of telephone calls secured during the period November 10, 2019 to November 30th across her mobile phone bearing No. 0772272893 which she was using on the day she was supposed to have been abducted. 

 Suspect Garnier Francis has been engaged in a call on November 21st, 2019 for 108 seconds and the registered owner of that mobile phone is a journalist of a French media institute and by name is called Lakna Tharindu Paranamanna, living at No. 34/1/1/2, Sri Wimalasiri Road, Kalubowila, Dehiwala; it was mentioned in the CID report. As such, she was summoned to the CID last 17th and a statement was secured and on that occasion she has mentioned that the SIM card of that telephone number registered under her name was handed over to her friend Darisha Bastian who was attached to Ceylon Today newspaper in the year 2011 and then was the chief editor of Sunday Observer newspaper of Lake House in 2019; the CID has mentioned in their report. 

Under these circumstances, when further scrutinising telephone numbers relevant to those calls, it was revealed that telephone conversations had been active in 21instances with Mr. Krishantha Cooray who was the chairman of Lake House with Mrs. Darisha Bastian; the CID reported to court. The CID in their report has indicated that it was revealed in the telephone analysis that former chairman of Lake House, Mr. Krishantha Cooray has on November 18th, 2019 had been engaged in a conversation of 552 seconds (9 minutes and 12 seconds) with senior superintendent of police, Mr. Shani Abeysekera, the latter of whom is under interdiction at present and was former director of criminal investigation department.

The CID next informed court that it was revealed through telephone records that former director of criminal investigation department Mr. Shani Abeysekera has engaged in a telephone conversation at 9.30 on November 23rd (the day before his departure) with Mr. Nishantha Silva who incidentally went overseas without permission on November 24th, 2019. 

Incidentally, the CID further told court that Mrs. Darisha Bastian who was chief editor of Sunday Observer newspaper has left overseas to Switzerland last November 21st and that the mobile phone in her possession was disconnected according to the statement made by Mrs. Lakna Tharindu Paranamanna. According to a further analysis, the suspect in this court case, Mrs. Garnier Francis has been engaged in a telephone call with Mrs. Darisha Bastian last November 21st as the last call before her departure overseas and that was for a duration of 160 seconds. In the same way, the CID also informed that immigration and emigration department informed them that Mr. Krishantha Cooray of Lake House who is linked to these calls has left to Malaysia on December 25th, 2012. 

Having taken the information thus forwarded, the court postponed the case till 11th next month instructing the CID to carry out investigations relevant to the incident and to report proceedings to court. Court ordered visa officer of Swiss consulate in Sri Lanka, Mrs. Garnier Banister Francis to be remanded in connection with this incident to be released on two sureties of Rs. 5 lakhs on last December 30th. 

(Nimanthi Ranasingha)          

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