Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 23

United Backlash Halts Transfer of Key CID

Officer

Behind the conflicting statements from various limbs of the State, a clearer
picture is emerging of the circumstances surrounding the abortive attempt to
remove Police Inspector Adrian Nishantha Silva from the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID), and to transfer the officer to the Negombo
Police Division. The order from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for
Silva’s transfer came on the night of November 18, 2018 citing ‘essential
service requirements’.

 Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:00


In the days and even hours prior to the issuance of this order, which was
made without consulting the National Police Commission (NPC), the IGP had
come under severe pressure from the President and military brass to remove
Silva from the CID. There was equal pressure from the CID leadership not to
interfere with the officer’s career, according to documents the Daily Mirror is
in possession.

 President, IGP trade charges on who ordered transfer


 Lasantha’s daughter rises to defend IP Nishantha
 CDS implicated in framing IP Nishantha as ‘LTTE mole’

In a letter addressed to the Senior Deputy IG


of the CID, Ravi Seneviratne, the IGP states that at a national security
conference held on November 13, 2018, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral
Ravindra Wijegunaratne had accused Nishantha Silva of being an agent of the
LTTE terrorist outfit. The meeting had been chaired by President
Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Thereafter, the letter says
Admiral Wijegunaratne has once again contacted the police chief on his
mobile phone and had inquired as to why IP Silva is still allowed to work for
the CID after this ‘security threat’ had been revealed by him.
By Monday morning, the flurry of statements had been followed by several
inquiries made by ambassadors of prominent countries calling for an
explanation for Inspector Silva’s transfer. The response they received,
according to several diplomatic sources, is that the transfer of Silva was a
decision taken solely by IGP based on service requirements
It was following the telephone call he received from CDS on November 16,
2018, that the IGP wrote to CID head Ravi Seneviratne setting out the facts
above and requesting a report on IP Silva containing any evidence of his
having connection with terrorist groups or involvement in criminal or illegal
activities.

The IGP’s confidential letter (Ref: SD/ IG/ OUT/ S-04/ 5745/ 2018) to Senior
DIG CID, Ravi Seneviratne states further, ‘It was revealed at the Security
Council meeting held on November 13, 2018 that IP Nishantha Silva is
involved with the LTTE. Later CDS Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne spoke
to me on my mobile phone asking why IP Silva, who is involved with LTTE
activities, is being allowed to work for the CID’.
‘Hence I request you to send me a report today- November 16 before 3pm
about this officer on following-
 Whether there is any information that this officer is involved with
LTTE activities.
 Whether this officer is involved with any crime or illegal activities
 What type of official duties have been entrusted to this officer?’
In response, DIG CID Ravi Seneviratne by letter (Ref:
S/DIG/CID/IGP/3303/18) dated November 18, to the IGP, had said that
neither he nor CID Director Shani Abeysekera were aware or any evidence
that IP Nishantha Silva was involved in any terrorist activity or in any
criminal or illegal activity. He said Silva conducted investigations that had
been entrusted on him to the best of his abilities and that he had arrested and
charged many LTTE cadres who were prepared to create mayhem in the
country during the war. The Senior DIG elaborated on how IP Nishantha
Silva has conducted many highly sensitive investigations which are now before
courts.
He has further stated in his letter to the IGP, a copy of which is in this
newspaper’s possession of, that there is no evidence what so ever against IP
Silva to substantiate the allegations made by CDS Wijegunaratne. The Senior
DIG points out that it is this same officer, Nishantha Silva, who is leading
investigations into the abduction of 11 youths, in which CDS Wijegunaratne
has himself been named a suspect. The CDS is not implicated in the abduction
and murder of the victims, but the CID has presented evidence of him
deliberately harbouring one of the key suspects Lt. Com. Chandana
Hettiarachchi alias ‘Navy Sampath’, and preventing the CID from
questioning or arresting him, despite repeated requests to produce Navy
Sampath to the CID. Wijegunaratne was Navy Commander at the time. The
CID has told the Colombo Fort Magistrate that although Wijegunaratne had
claimed that ‘Navy Sampath’ could not be located, he was being hidden in the
Navy Officer’s Mess by Wijegunaratne. The CID produced eye-witness
statements and documents to this effect.

 National Police Commission (NPC) took the step of holding a special


emergency meeting at their offices in order to consider the complaints
 Nevertheless, the IGP concluded, he had no choice, but to give effect to a
transfer of Nishantha Silva
 Through this letter, the IGP was “planting a flag in the ground
 Ahimsa, daughter of slain Lasantha Wickrematunge, had been
following events in Colombo closely
 Amnesty International also chimed in and issued a statement on Silva’s
transfer

Senior DIG Seneviratne in his letter explained that although Wijegunaratne is


attempting to frame IP Silva being involved in terrorist activities, none of the
intelligence services nor any other law enforcement authorities have formally
received any such information. He charged that the allegation is levelled
against IP Nishantha Silva because he is the officer investigating the
abduction case, in which the Colombo Magistrate on three occasions has
instructed the CID to arrest CDS Wijegunaratne and to produce him before
court.

The letter further states, ‘As I have notified you on an earlier occasion that
there is a court order to arrest and produce Wijegunaratne on serious
criminal charges, he is not fit to hold the post of Chief of Defence Staff. I
understand that you have informed this to Secretary Defence. As a suspect
who is now attempting to interfere with an investigation and jeopardise the
investigating officer, action could be taken against him under the Witness
Protection Act’.
Nishantha Silva is well-known among journalists and civil society groups as
the lead investigator in a number of ‘white van’ abduction cases and murders
of journalists when Mahinda Rajapaksa headed the regime. These include the
Lasantha Wickrematunge murder, disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda,
abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr
Shortly after receiving Senior DIG Seneviratne’s letter defending Nishantha
Silva and accusing Admiral Wijegunaratna of criminal obstruction of an
investigation, the IGP was summoned to meet President Maithripala Sirisena
at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2018, according to a letter written by the IGP to
Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando the following day.
Universal condemnation
The order, which came on a Sunday night, received immediate and blistering
condemnation from around the world. Nishantha Silva is well-known among
journalists and civil society groups as the lead investigator in a number of
‘white van’ abduction cases and murders of journalists when Mahinda
Rajapaksa headed the regime. These include the Lasantha Wickrematunge
murder, disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, abduction and torture of
Keith Noyahr, assault on Upali Tennakoon and the attempted abduction of
Namal Perera.

Barely an hour after the transfer was made public, JVP MP Vijitha Herath
discussed it on live television on the TNL channel’s Special ‘Janahanda’
program. “Mahinda Rajapaksa and his people want to cover up their crimes
and robberies,” Herath said. “Just now, suddenly, the main officer handling
all of these investigations, was suddenly transferred to Negombo. Why are
they doing this?” he asked.

“This is what Mahinda Rajapaksa wants,” he charged. “IP Nishantha is being


removed from the CID to shut down his investigations. Mahinda Rajapaksa
realised that if Nishantha Silva remained at the CID, half or more of his MPs
who tried to assault the Speaker in Parliament on Friday would be in the
Welikada jail by the middle of next year. This is all because of this Welikada
terrorist group,” MP Herath further said.

This condemnation was soon followed by live televised statements from


several other MPs including UNP MPs Harin Fernando and Hirunika
Premachandra, who also accused the state of trying to stifle the CID by
removing Nishantha Silva.

The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, in a statement by its


President, Dhuminda Sampath, said ‘We believe that this sudden transfer was
made to hold up the above-mentioned court cases, and under these
circumstances, we are shocked as media freedom and journalists are in
danger’.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed ‘serious concerns’


over Nishantha Silva, who they said, ‘Was investigating several major attacks
on journalists during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’.

Amnesty International also chimed in and issued a statement on Silva’s


transfer: “We are concerned about the seeming interference by the authorities
with investigations into key allegations of human rights violations including
those on attacks against journalists and disappearances. The authorities must
ensure that ongoing criminal investigations into these cases are not impeded
on any grounds whatsoever. Justice in these cases is long overdue.”

By Monday morning, the flurry of statements had been followed by several


inquiries made by ambassadors of prominent countries calling for an
explanation for Inspector Silva’s transfer. The response they received,
according to several diplomatic sources, is that the transfer of Silva was a
decision taken solely by IGP based on service requirements.

It quickly became clear to IGP Pujith Jayasundera that he was to be “thrown


under the bus”.
Meanwhile, on Monday November 19 itself, Senior DIG CID swiftly
submitted an appeal against Silva’s transfer to the National Police
Commission. In this appeal, Senior DIG Seneviratne warned that if the
transfer of IP Nishantha Silva was carried out, several sensitive and
important investigations which are now nearing completion would be
seriously hampered. He requested from the Commission to consider the
importance of this officer to these CID investigations, and to immediately
reverse the transfer order.
It was following the telephone call he received from CDS on November 16,
2018, that the IGP wrote to CID head Ravi Seneviratne setting out the facts
above and requesting a report on IP Silva containing any evidence of his
having connection with terrorist groups or involvement in criminal or illegal
activities
The letter says, ‘OIC Gang Robbery Unit of the CID, IP Nishantha Silva had
been transferred to the Negombo Police Division with immediate effect by the
IGP.

‘Out of his 25 year service in the Police Department, this officer had been
attached to the CID for 20 years and had conducted many sensitive
investigations and fearlessly acted against all suspects. He has become a prime
target for those who are accused in these cases and their families. Considering
his safety, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has ordered the CID to
provide him with the necessary security. On the instruction of the IGP, CID
has taken necessary steps to protect him. Considering these facts, I request
you to cancel the transfer order and enable him to carry out his investigations
without any hindrance’.
IP Nishantha Silva himself also made an appeal to the National Police
Commission on Monday November 19, refuting the allegation the CDS has
made against him, and seeking to reverse the transfer order so that he can
carry out the investigations and to bring the perpetrators to book.
Upon receiving notice of the appeals on Monday, the National Police
Commission (NPC) took the unprecedented step of holding special emergency
meeting at their offices at the BMICH, in order to consider the complaints. At
this meeting, the two appeals and their supporting documents were reviewed,
and the Commission decided to call for an explanation from the IGP
explaining his decision to transfer such a critical CID investigator to the
Negombo Division.

Also on the afternoon of November 19, Lawyers for Democracy convened a


snap press conference on the Nishantha Silva issue. “We believe politics is
behind this sudden transfer,” Lawyers for Democracy Convener Presidents
Counsel J.C. Weliamuna said bluntly, to the assembled reporters.
“This transfer was against the law and will be challenged. We strongly believe
he was transferred to block his investigations. This appears closely linked to
the political changes the country has undergone since October 26, 2018,”
Weliamuna charged.

“As lawyers, we have recognised IP Nishantha Silva as one of the most


respectable and talented police officers and highly committed to his duties. A
three-judge panel has commended him by name for his commitment in
investigating the rape and murder of Vidya Loganathan in Jaffna,” the senior
lawyer said.
Faced with the prospect of a Police Commission inquiry in which he would
have to reveal the extraordinary ‘service requirement’ that justified removing
such a critical officer from the CID in the backdrop of the paper trail of
trumped up charges of Nishantha Silva having LTTE connections, the IGP
moved swiftly to write to his Ministry Secretary and set out the limitations of
his role in the Nishantha Silva saga.

In his letter dated November 19, 2018 to Defence Secretary Hemasiri


Fernando, reproduced here in full, the IGP recaps his interactions with the
President, Chief of Defence Staff and CID leadership on the Nishantha Silva
issue. He says that at the National Security Council meeting on November 13,
2018, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Wijegunaratna had raised an allegation
that Inspector Nishantha Silva had strong LTTE links that made him
dangerous to keep at the CID.

The IGP’s letter then said Admiral Wijegunaratne called him on Friday
November 16, and reprimanded him for allowing Silva to continue
functioning at the CID despite the allegation of LTTE links. It was after this
phone call that the IGP had told the Defence Secretary that he was prompted
to call for a report on Silva from Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne of the CID.

The IGP then describes the report he received from CID head Seneviratne
regarding Nishantha Silva. According to the report, the IGP said that there
was no evidence or intelligence available to corroborate the accusation that
Nishantha Silva had any link with the LTTE or with other criminal activity.
“These allegations are not supported by any intelligence service or
investigative branch,” the IGP said, concluding that the allegations against
Silva were baseless and unsubstantiated.
Lasantha’s daughter
Nevertheless, the IGP concluded, he had no choice, but to give effect to a
transfer of Nishantha Silva. “As per the instructions and advice of the
President, who is the subject [Law and Order] Minister, I gave the order on
2018.11.18 through Telephone Message Number 128 to transfer IP Nishantha
Silva of the CID immediately to the Negombo Police Division citing a service
requirement” the IGP states.

Through this letter, the IGP was “planting a flag in the ground”. Shortly after
this letter had been delivered to Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and
copied to President’s Secretary Udaya Seneviratne, a bombshell dropped
from down-under. Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of slain Editor-in-Chief
of The Sunday Leader LasanthaWickrematunge, had been following events in
Colombo closely and was finalising a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena
praising Nishantha Silva and condemning his transfer. Ahimsa
Wickrematunge’s letter was dated Tuesday 20th November 2018. She sent the
letter early that morning, shortly after midnight in Colombo, which is five-
and-a-half hours behind the east coast of Australia where she resides. The text
of her letter is reproduced here in full.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mirror, Ahimsa Wickrematunge explained


why she took the extraordinary step to write to the President. “I never had
any faith in the investigation into my father until I met Nishantha” and
another CID officer, she said. “He was so patient, thorough and determined
when taking my statement. He had every fact of the investigation at his
fingertips, and he produced results,” she continued.

“My letter was first going to be an appeal. I was going to beg from the
President to reverse his decision. But the more I learned about what was
behind the decision, and about the resolve of the independent institutions who
would stand up for Nishantha, I realised that no one needs to beg to do what is
right,” she said.
My letter was first going to be an appeal. I was going to beg from the
President to reverse his decision. But the more I learned about what was
behind the decision, and about the resolve of the independent institutions who
would stand up for Nishantha, I realised that no one needs to beg to do what is
right
Wickrematunge’s letter laid out Nishantha Silva’s involvement in her father’s
murder investigation with painstaking detail. She also openly charged that
while the transfer order was supposedly from the IGP, “he has made no
secret of the fact that he issued this order hesitantly at the President’s
insistence.

“I know IP Silva as the lead investigator into the murder of my late father
Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was bludgeoned to death on January 8, 2009
exactly six years before you were historically elected President on a platform
pledging to solve heinous murders like my father’s,” she continued.
Then, mid-morning on Tuesday 20th November 2018, with the National Police
Commission having called for an explanation from the IGP, Wickrematunge’s
letter took the media by storm and several political and civil society groups
united in their condemnation of the transfer and an envelope arrived at the
CID containing a one-page letter from the IGP’s office.

While the envelope physically arrived on the morning of November 20, the
contents in the document indicated that it was prepared the previous
day, November 19, 2018. This date was handwritten in multiple places.

The document was an order from the Inspector General of Police,


withdrawing his previous order to transfer Nishantha Silva from the Criminal
Investigation Department to the Negombo Division. The reason cited in this
letter was innocuous. It was “due to service requirements”, said the IGP.

Letter to President from Ahimsa Wickrematunge


Dear President Sirisena,
Your Decision to Remove Inspector Adrian Nishantha Silva from the
Criminal Investigation Department

Sunday 18th November 2018 was the 73rd birthday of former President
Mahinda Rajapaksa. To mark this occasion, President Rajapaksa
participated in a ‘Pinkama’ at a temple near his official residence, attended by
your Inspector General of Police, Mr. Pujith Jayasundara. After celebrating
the former President’s birthday in the company of former Defence Secretary
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mr. Jayasundera proceeded to police headquarters,
where he signed transfer order D/HRM/ADM/1869/2018 dated 18th
November 2018.

As you are fully aware, this was an order to remove Police Inspector Adrian
Nishantha Silva, Officer-in-Charge of the Gang Robbery Branch (GRB) of the
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) due to unspecified “service
requirements”. While the order is ostensibly from the IGP, he has made no
secret of the fact that he issued this order hesitantly, at your insistence. This
was a thoughtful birthday gift on your part, but it was Mahinda’s birthday,
not Gotabaya’s.

I know Inspector Silva as the lead investigator into the murder of my father,
Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was bludgeoned to death on 8th January
2009, exactly six years before you were historically elected President on a
platform pledging to solve heinous murders like my father’s.
In January 2009, two innocent youth were abducted in Vavuniya and
executed in cold blood and their corpses burnt to ashes in Anuradhapura, all
just so that their motorcycle could be planted as evidence at the crime scene.
Senior police officers helped to destroy all traces of the notebook containing
my father’s last words, which may have identified his attackers. We know this
because of Nishantha Silva. Over the last two years, he travelled tirelessly
around Vavuniya and Anuradhapura, interrogated dozens of witnesses,
ordered DNA tests on decade-old samples and finally arrested the police
officers responsible, including a Senior Deputy Inspector General.

On 18th January 2010 the CID made a breakthrough into my father’s murder
when a mechanic in Nuwara Eliya identified a soldier in the Tripoli Military
Intelligence platoon as having used his National ID card to purchase SIM
cards used to coordinate the attack on my father. The ink was barely dry on
that witness statement before the all-powerful Gotabaya Rajapaksa
personally ordered that the commanding officer of the Tripoli platoon be
whisked away to a diplomatic posting. The investigation was then yanked
away from the CID overnight and given to the Terrorist Investigation Division
(TID), who arrested the poor mechanic on trumped up charges and covered
up all involvement of the Tripoli platoon. We know all this purely thanks to
Nishantha Silva’s investigations. We would know more if the poor mechanic
did not mysteriously perish in remand custody in October 2011.

I came to know Nishantha Silva when he visited Melbourne to record a


statement from me regarding my father’s murder. I told him then that my
father had said repeatedly that he was likely to be killed by Gotabaya
Rajapaksa for having exposed the MiG Deal. Nishantha Silva fearlessly
reported this to the Mount Lavinia courts. Only a court of law can decide
whether my father was right about who gave the order to kill him, but he was
sure right about the MiG Deal. The FCID investigation has shown that half
the money paid by the Sri Lanka Air Force was siphoned off to a shell
company operated by middle men, and that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s cousin
Udayanga Weeratunga was in the thick of the deal, all exactly as my father
had exposed.

Ever since I got to meet Nishantha Silva, I was struck by his gentleness,
humility and dedication to his job. I started following his work and was
stunned by the number of high-profile cases that Nishantha Silva is handling.
He is also the lead investigator into the brutal May 2008 abduction and
torture of journalist Keith Noyahr. Nishantha Silva’s team reconstructed and
scoured millions of telephone records, recorded over one hundred witness
statements, located the military intelligence safe house in which Keith Noyahr
was tortured, recovered documents proving the safe house was leased by
military intelligence, and arrested eight military intelligence officers including
the former army chief of staff. Seven of these suspects were from the infamous
“Tripoli” white-van platoon implicated in the murder of my father.

Heck, he even found the infamous “white van” and brought it before court.
This engine of death was a symbol of your election campaign, emblematic of
the vicious brutality of your opponents. One would have expected you to
promote the man who found it and not try and sabotage his career. In fact,
Inspector Silva may have been able to figure out the nexus between the Tripoli
platoon and the chain of command if you had not personally ordered the
military not to cooperate with the investigation on so-called “national
security” grounds when the CID and the court requested essential documents
and records of the army and defence ministry.

It was also Inspector Nishantha Silva’s team who identified and arrested
members of yet another military intelligence killer squad for abducting and
murdering cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda on the eve of the January 2010
presidential election. Again, Nishantha’s team scoured hundreds of thousands
of telephone call records, searched several military installations, and recorded
tomes worth of witness statements. According to court documents, at least two
cooperating suspects-turned-witnesses have told the CID that the abduction
and murder of Eknaligoda was carried out on the instructions of then Defence
Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

During the investigation into the floating armoury operated by Avant Garde
Maritime Services, it was Nishantha Silva’s team who in early 2015 first
moved to impose a ban on foreign travel by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. His team
did a tremendous amount of work on this investigation, breathing bank
statements and inventorying weapons and explosives that had been stashed at
sea in Sri Lankan waters on Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s authority. This
investigation came to naught when your attorney general ruled in June 2015
that “no offences under the Firearms Ordinance, Explosives Ordinance or the
Prevention of Terrorism Act are disclosed” by the operation of a floating
armoury jam-packed with illegally licensed and unlicensed automatic
weapons and explosives.
Nishantha Silva has also been the lead investigator into the brutal abduction
and murder of eleven young men in 2008 and 2009 after their desperate
families had been extorted for ransom, allegedly by several senior naval
officers whom Inspector Silva has meticulously identified and arrested. It was
Inspector Silva who had the unprecedented courage to share with an open
court evidence that your former navy commander, now Chief of Defence
Staff, was instrumental in harbouring and smuggling out of the country a
fugitive navy officer involved in these grisly murders.

Ironically, it is this same Chief of Defence Staff, a suspect wanted for arrest by
Inspector Silva, who seems to have provided you with unfounded and
uncorroborated “intelligence” that Nishantha Silva was an “LTTE mole” –
intelligence that you forced down the throat of your IGP to try and tarnish the
name of one of the bravest, most dedicated and accomplished detectives in the
Sri Lanka Police.
I sympathise especially with Nishantha Silva on this point. Throughout my
childhood, I noticed that whenever my father exposed someone, and that truth
was so pungent and irrefutable that it shattered their reputations, these
people would react by accusing my father – with zero evidence – of being an
“LTTE mole”. My father’s reporting on the MiG Deal, for example, led to a
consorted campaign by the Ministry of Defence to brand him and his
newspaper as organs of the LTTE. But the truth came out. The truth always
comes out.

The truth about Nishantha Silva is that he has been one of the single biggest
thorns in the side of the LTTE in the history of the CID. As a junior officer he
was part of the team that investigated and dismantled the LTTE intelligence
networks that supplied and facilitated the attack on the Katunayake airport in
2000. He was a lead investigator into the 2006 assassination attempts on both
Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka. He splintered the LTTE networks
involved in these and the 2008 assassination of General Janaka Perera, and he
participated in countless additional counter-terrorism operations.

By desperately trying to brand a faithful public servant and national hero like
Nishantha Silva as a terrorist just to please your strutting tin soldiers and to
earn brownie points with your new-found political allies, you are degrading
the office of the presidency to a degree that none of your predecessors ever
have. My father at various times had fierce disagreements with both
Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa. They called
each other many things they would want to take back. But neither Presidents
Kumaratunga nor Rajapaksa ever stooped so low as to try and brand my
father as part of the LTTE. That is the refrain of lesser mortals, such as
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and apparently, yourself.

I urge you to remember that you have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the
Constitution of Sri Lanka, not to uphold and defend your Chief of Defence
Staff and those who rule by white van death. I do not know if these people are
guilty of any crime. Neither do you. That is for a court to decide after a
thorough criminal investigation of the kind that Nishantha Silva was so ably
and tirelessly performing before you cut him off at the knees. Our role in the
criminal justice system is to support investigators however they may require.

For me, as a witness, that means answering their questions truthfully and
comprehensively. For you, as a head of state, that means putting the law
before your personal relationships, political needs and whims. It means
making available to investigators the resources, political will and support
from the state they require to get to the truth and present it before a
competent court. Above all, your role is to make it clear to police officers
across the country that working with dedication towards the pursuit of justice
like Nishantha Silva has done will bring reverence and not retaliation.

I have faith in the Criminal Investigation Department and the independent


institutions of Sri Lanka such as the National Police Commission and
Constitutional Council. They will not allow you to get away with such a
blatant abuse of power.

Mr. President, you have only two choices before you. You could be
remembered as the President who quickly rectified an ill-advised lapse in
judgment by immediately reversing the removal of Nishantha Silva from the
CID and letting him do his job.

Alternatively, you could wait until the independent National Police


Commission or a court of law reviews your order and shoots it down. In that
case you will be remembered as the President who tried to stop some of the
most high-profile criminal investigations in the country – and failed. Make no
mistake, Mr. President. If you try to stand in the way of justice for my father
and other victims of brutality, you will fail.
Yours Faithfully,
Ahimsa Wickrematunge
CDS charged and remanded until Dec. 15
Yesterday CDS Ravindra Wijegunaratne surrendered himself to the Colombo
Fort Magistrates Court in connection with the investigation into his alleged
involvement in aiding and abetting murder suspect Lt. Cdr. Hettiarachchi
alias ‘Navy Sampath’ to escape arrest. One suspect, Laksiri Amarasinghe, has
already been arrested in this connection, and remains in remand custody.
The CID, represented by ASP Sisira Tissera and IP Nishantha Silva, informed
Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake that the Chief of Defence Staff has been
named as a suspect in this investigation. The CID listed several charges
against the country’s senior-most serving military officer, including several
charges under the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and
Witnesses Act (APVCWA) No. 4 of 2015.

Adm. Wijegunaratne was charged under Section 8 (4) (a) of the APVCWA for
causing “harassment, intimidation, coercion, violation, physical or mental
suffering and loss or damage to the reputation” of Inspector Adrian
Nishantha Silva as a consequence of Inspector Silva having made testimony in
court that was adverse to Adm. Wijegunaratne. The admiral was also charged
under Section 8 (4) (b) of the APVCWA for causing “an adverse change to be
made to the conditions of employment in the place of employment” of
Inspector Silva as a consequence of the inspector’s adverse testimony.
According to the law, these are non-bailable offences; each punishable by up
to seven years of imprisonment.
CDS Ravindra Wijegunaratne (in white uniform) who surrendered himself to
the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court

The CID also complained against Wijegunaratne under the APVCWA and
the Penal Code for his alleged involvement in the attack last Sunday on
prosecution witness Lt. Cdr. Laksiri Galagamage at Navy Headquarters. The
CID informed court that Wijegunaratne is suspected of participating in an
unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation, attempting to assault a witness, and
threatening a witness.
Based on the submissions of ASP Tissera and IP Silva, the Magistrate said
that the evidence of the CDS’ involvement with trying to remove IP Nishantha
Silva from the CID made clear that he was capable of interfering with the
investigation. The Magistrate ordered that Wijegunaratne be remanded until
December 15, 2018 and be produced before court on that day.

Outside the court premises, several journalists and photo-journalists, covering


the court proceeding, came under attack by unidentified assailants who
arrived on motorbikes. The Magistrate ordered the Fort Police to take action
against those initiating these assaults.
Posted by Thavam