Sri Lanka’s police detained two navy intelligence officers at the Fort magistrate’s court Wednesday amid fears of a threat to the life of a key detective investigating the abduction and killing of several people allegedly by navy officers.
Police spotted two navy men identified as N. M. W Janaka (38190) and A.S.N. Tony (103183) sitting among litigants and were reported to the magistrate who ordered their questioning.
The men were duly detained and their statements were recorded at the police post within the courts complex, a court official said adding that a report was expected from the police.
The lead investigator, Nishantha Silva, whose transfer from the Criminal Investigations Department had been previously demanded by Chief of Defence Staff Ravi Wijegunaratne, had complained to the magistrate about the presence of the two navy intel officers.
He has reportedly told the magistrate that he feared his life could be in danger. Some of the key witnesses in the case also fear that they could be targeted by navy officers and have formally lodged complaints.
Police are investigating what the two intel officers were doing in court while supposedly being on duty at their Welisara camp.
Police have told court that some of the key suspects who are currently on bail have been reinstated and even given promotions. It is feared that they could have access to resources that will help them intimidate suspects.
The Chief of defence Staff Wijegunaratne was granted bail a week after he was remanded in custody in late November on a charge of helping a key suspect in the case escape arrest.
The Criminal Investigations Department had uncovered chilling details of a systematic extortion racket carried out by senior navy officers, presumably with the concurrence of their superiors at the height of the separatist war.
The CID chanced on the details of a double murder while investigating the disappearance of 11 youth between 2008 and 2009. The CID searched the Welisara navy camp and found parts of a van which the navy had claimed was a “suspicious LTTE vehicle bomb.”