‘I was interdicted when plans were in place to arrest Zaharan’; Nalaka De Silva

‘I was interdicted when plans were in place to arrest Zaharan’; Nalaka De Silva

‘I was interdicted when plans were in place to arrest Zaharan’; Nalaka De Silva

Written by Zulfick Farzan

09 Dec, 2020 | 10:39 am

Colombo (News 1st); Undue influence from politicians and the Criminal Investigations Department hampered investigations carried out by the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID), said Former DIG Nalaka De Silva, on Tuesday (08).

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the 2019 April 21st Attack, De Silva said the undue influence was made when he was operating as the head of the TID.

Nalaka De Silva said then Criminal Investigations Department Chief Ravi Seneviratne and its Director Shani Abeysekera had exerted influence on certain activities of the TID.

It was unclear if the influence was made for private or common objectives, said De Silva adding he believes the success of the Terrorist Investigations Division under him could have been the cause for it.

Former DIG Nalaka De Silva on Tuesday (08) further said the Human Rights Commission too exerted influence on the investigations from time to time.

He said when a suspect was arrested at the time, the Human Rights Commission visits the TID and engages in discussions with the suspect, even before the suspect’s family visits the TID.

This made it difficult to obtain a statement from the suspect, he added.

DIG Nalaka De Silva went on to note an extremely talented detective of the TID who investigated Zaharan Hashim is currently seeking medication for mental stress solely due to the influence and pressure exerted by the Criminal Investigations Department.

There was zero assistance provided by the Government of Sri Lanka with respect to providing the TID with technical equipment and expertise.

De Silva told the Presidential Commission he was interdicted when plans were in place to arrest Zaharan Hashim and it was through the newspaper he came to know that he was sent on compulsory leave.

‘I am yet to receive a letter stating that I have been interdicted’ said the Former Deputy Police Chief.

In response to the questioned posed by the Presidential Commission on Zaharan Hashim, DIG Nalak De Silva said if he received intelligence information with regard to the plans of an attack, he would have immediately informed the IGP and obtained the necessary instructions.

Based on the information obtained, island-wide operations would be have been carried out and the terrorists could have been arrested, he said.

If a photograph of Zaharan Hashim was made public ahead of the 2019 April Attacks, Hashim could have been nabbed by the authorities, said De Silva.

DIG Nalaka De Silva went on to note the government from 2005 to 2015 supported the TID officers in performing their duties, however, under the following government, the TID did not enjoy the same freedom, adding the government was even afraid of taking a step forward.

He said if the interest shown towards the investigations surrounding him were shown to the investigations on Zaharan Hashim, it would have given successful results.

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