IGP received weekly reports on Zaharan – DIG Nalaka de Silva

IGP received weekly reports on Zaharan – DIG Nalaka de Silva

Written by Staff Writer

04 Jun, 2019 | 8:35 pm

Colombo (News1st) – The Special Parliamentary Select Committee investigating into the April 21st attacks convened again today (June 4). MP Dr. Jayampathi Wickremerathne chaired the committee that convened at the parliamentary complex today.

Former Director of the Terrorist Investigation Division DIG Nalaka De Silva provided evidence before the select committee today. Nalaka De Sliva who was remanded over an alleged VIP assassination plot is currently out on bail. He was brought before the committee on a wheel-chair.

Before the hearing of evidence began, the chair of the select committee noted that the media does not have permission to record the proceedings when sensitive matters involving national security are being discussed. The Chairing member informed the house that media coverage of the proceedings will be limited upon the request of the witness or the select committee.

Speaking before the committee DIG Nalaka de Silva noted that when he was in charge of the terrorism prevention division of the state intelligence service in 2013 and 2014, they began gathering intel on extremist organizations. He added that the Thowheed Jamaath spread to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu, India and that the National Thowheed Jamaath was a splinter group of the original faction. The DIG noted that were investigating Zaharah Hashmi and were constantly monitoring his social media usage as well.

DIG de Silva noted that observation of his social media usage indicated that he was moving towards violence extremism adding that this idea gained more headway when reports emerged of a clash between two Muslim groups was reported in the Kathankudi area in 2017. The DIG went onto state that when authorities attempted to capture Zaharan, he evaded custody remained missing for a long time, which prompted the TID to obtain an open warrant which could have been used to obtain a blue notice through Interpol if the Zaharan had fled overseas.

When questioned by the committee if other police officers were privy to this information, the DIG states that he updated the IGP on their progress on a weekly basis (each Monday). He added that if there was anything that could have been identified as a threat to national security, the IGP was informed immediately so that he could inform those above him. Nalaka de Silva claimed that these reports were forwarded to the IGP on a regular basis up until he was arrested.

When questioned if he had any knowledge of politicians supporting Zaharan’s cause, the DIG stated that their investigations did not lead to any political links but added that they were aware that Zaharan was associating several politicians at a personal level. When questioned the DIG added that Zaharan also received foreign funding.

When asked if him being arrested hampered the investigations into Zaharan’s activities, Nalaka de Silva states that losing his leadership could have been an issue that the officers faced.

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