|Rookantha after the attack|
On January 26, 2001, the personnel forced into the house in Mattegoda in which Rookantha Gunathilaka, his wife Chandralekha Perera and their children, aged seven and two then, and Chandralekha’s mother lived wielding pistols. They held pistols to their heads, cut off their hair and the couple was doused with petrol. The police officers also robbed cash and jewellery and got away in the jeep belonging to Rookantha Gunathilaka.
On August 01, 2013, Panadura High Court judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena sentenced 10 former Presidential Security Division members who involved in this crime to jail terms of four and a half years each for the attack.
Soon after the court ruling, Rookantha and Chandralekha held a press conference and said they would forgive the men. Rookantha wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying he had no objection to a presidential pardon for the men. Meanwhile, he alluded to Chandrika Bandaranaike, Sanath Gunathilaka and others in the political, cinema and military fields as culprits of the attack.
No fresh investigation was initiated against them.
But the sentence was politically manipulated against Chandrika. After incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power Rookantha Gunathilaka returned to the island from US where he had lived since the attack and expressed support to the President.
The case was crucial in public interest despite the President pardoned based on a personal appeal of the victim. There is no legal basis that links the pardoning and the victims' appeal.
The convicts proved of engaging in the crime whole-heatedly although Rookantha wanted to show them as mere undertakers of orders.