Govt. urged to seek Nishantha’s extradition

Wijeyadasa reveals powwow between CID Chief and President MS


By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, yesterday revealed that he had personally brought the underhand activities of Chief Inspector Nishantha de Silva to the notice of the then President Maithripala Sirisena but the officer had been given a free hand.

Former justice minister Rajapakse was commenting on the officer attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) leaving the country over the last weekend with his wife and three children to Switzerland without informing the police.

Responding to The Island query why he had intervened, MP Rajapakse said the CID was planning to take wartime Navy Commander the then Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne into custody on unsubstantiated accusations. Therefore, the CID move had been brought to President Sirisena’s attention in late 2018, MP Rajapakse said.

"The President summoned Senior Officer in charge of the CID Deputy Inspector General of Police Ravi Seneviratne to his Paget road residence and I was also asked to be present," MP Rajapakse said.

Rajapakse said that the CID Chief had arrived at the President’s House accompanied by J.C. Weliamuna, who wasn’t invited by the President’s Office. He alleged that the then government sent Weliamuna to ensure that the DIG would not say anything that could be used against the government.

Dr Rajapakse said that when explained the CI de Silva going after retired top brass and intelligence services at the behest of his masters overseas, the DIG had defended the conduct of the officer concerned. MP Rajapakse quoted the DIG as having told the President that Nishantha de Silva was the best officer.

Since then Weliamuna had been appointed as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Australia, MP Rajapakse said.

Rajapakse said that in spite of his complaints Nishantha de Silva had been given a free hand.

The former minister said that police headquarters owed an explanation as to how the CI and his family had left the country unhindered. Responding to another query, MPā€ˆRajapakse pointed out that over a week after the Nov 16 presidential poll, those responsible for security didn’t bother to alert entry/exit points of the possibility of the likes of de Silva leaving the country.

MP Rajapakse said that Foreign Ministry should seek Switzerland’s cooperation to have de Silva extradited. The President’s Counsel said that a thorough inquiry was required to establish the relationship the Chief Inspector maintained with Western embassies in Colombo. The officer and his family wouldn’t have received visas unless there was intervention at the highest level, MP Rajapakse said, warning of dire consequences unless immediate measures were taken to get hold of him.

MP Rajapakse said that high ranking military officers had been denied visas whereas relatively junior policeman and his family had received visas in record time. The former Minister said that the way the West intervened on the Chief Inspector’s behalf proved his complaint to President Sirisena that he worked closely with the foreign missions.

MP Rajapakse said that Nishantha de Silva’s case would be a challenge to the new government. "Western powers are certainly testing Sri Lanka’s readiness to take a stand," lawmaker Rajapakse said, adding that the officer could turn up in Geneva at the next sessions in March 2020.

MP Rajapakse recalled as to how the CID conducted partial investigations into the disappearances blamed on the Navy.

Lawmaker Rajapakse urged the government not to take Nishantha de Silva’s case lightly and it was a clear case of diplomatic missions in Colombo playing politics with domestic issues.

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