Romesh De Silva PC launched a blistering attack on CID Gang Robberies Branch OIC Nishantha Silva, the lead investigator in the controversial Navy abductions case that has garnered wide public interest.
De Silva PC said that in February 2015, IP Silva had been handed over the investigation into the alleged abduction racket by the Navy, on the basis that a proper job had not been done on the probe that far.
De Silva PC referred to the CID sleuth as a ‘hangman’ and ‘villain’ in his submissions before the Supreme Court yesterday, as he tried to make the case that the police investigation that had allegedly found Karannagoda to be a suspect set for indictment by the Attorney General in the grisly abduction racket, for aiding and abetting the murders of the 11 boys, was filled with bad intentions and conducted in a partisan manner.
“So now we come to the hangman – the investigator who takes over in 2015 – the real villain of the piece,” De Silva PC charged, referencing Silva, who was cited as the first respondent in the former Navy Commander’s FR petition.
De Silva PC also claimed that his “patriotic blood boiled” as he read a section of a 2016 B report filed by IP Silva, which sought a Court order to permit a UN team to visit the Gun Site underground prison cells at the Trincomalee Naval base, where the boys were allegedly incarcerated before their suspected murder.
“Now this is where I really got angry – this is where my blood boils – any patriotic person will get angry. Why are we allowing UN people to go into our Navy camps to investigate? Would the US allow this? And now they are trying to arrest the Navy Commander,” Counsel for Karannagoda charged.
De Silva PC also claimed that the UN team had discovered bone fragments in the cells, which the Magistrate had ordered a report on by the Government Analyst, which in turn had found in May 2016 that the bones belonged to a small wild animal.
“So this is the type of investigation,” the Counsel charged.
IP Silva is the lead investigator on several key violent crimes investigations, including the assassination of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the abduction of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, and the abduction and torture of former Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr.
This is not the first time he has found himself in the cross-hairs of key officials in the previous administration, who have found themselves to be persons of interest in these high profile investigations.During the October-December attempted coup last year, the 52-day Government tried to transfer IP Silva out of the CID. Strong resistance to the move, including from victims’ families, rights activists, and media personnel who knew the sleuth’s role in investigating crimes against journalists, resulted in the transfer being reversed in 24 hours.
At the time, Wickrematunge’s daughter Ahimsa wrote a strongly worded letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to allow IP Silva to continue his work. Writing a glowing tribute to IP Silva and his tireless efforts to bring her father’s killers to justice, Ahimsa Wickrematunge said: “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.”