- Deputy Minister demands replacement of IGP and arrest of DIG Nalaka Silva
- JO demands arrest of DIG Silva
- JO claim TID sniper rifle went missing last week
By Skandha Gunasekara
Both Government and Joint Opposition MPs demanded in Parliament yesterday that Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Nalaka De Silva be arrested and investigated over his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Leader of the Joint Opposition in Parliament, MP Dinesh Gunawardana, raising a matter under Standing Order 43/2, demanded to know what action the Government would take against DIG De Silva.
“There is a serious allegation against a DIG regarding a conspiracy to assassinate the President and the former Defence Secretary with the help of the underworld. There are audiotapes of the plot circulating in the media. The state intelligence officers are dragging the investigations. The international community too was shocked to hear that the law enforcement of this country was working hand in glove with the underworld to plot political assassinations. This issue could lead to anarchy in the country. The President had promised before the media that there would be an investigation. We want to know whether the Government will take action against the senior police officers in question,” MP Gunawardana said, pointing out that if the President was assassinated, the Prime Minister would be a caretaker President as per the Constitution.
Leader of the House, Public Enterprise Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the remarks made by MP Gunawardana would hinder the ongoing investigation.
“This is an attempt to interfere in investigations. I am a lawyer. I understand the danger this statement could inflict on the investigations,” he said.
Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that the CID had obtained the mobile phones of Namal Kumara and that DIG Silva had been transferred to the Police Information Technology Division.
“Namal Kumara, while addressing a press conference, alleged that he had audiotapes of DIG Nalaka Silva conspiring to kill the President. The matter was reported to the Fort Magistrate. Court orders have been obtained to secure the video and audio records from media organisations in the event Namal Kumara made those allegations. The CID has obtained the mobile phone Namal Kumara had used to record the alleged conversations. DIG Nalaka Silva has been transferred from the Terrorist Investigations Division to the Information Technology Division of the Police to facilitate investigations,” the Law and Order Minister said.
At this point numerous Joint Opposition MPs began commenting on the issue.
NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said: “This issue raises many questions. This Namal Kumara has stated that there was a link between the police and underworld in propagating crimes during the Sinhalese-Muslim riots in Digana and Kandy. There are many other serious accusations. The DIG should be arrested. We cannot believe that these investigations will be impartial.”
MP Dullas Alahapperuma stated: “This plot is hatched by the head of the Terrorist Investigations Division but the state media does not publish anything on the issue. This is the most serious accusation ever made against the Police Department in its 152-year history.”
MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara asserted: “We cannot ensure an impartial investigation under the incumbent IGP. The IGP has taken DIG Nalaka Silva to the Kelaniya temple for a bodhi pooja on behalf of the latter just a few minutes ago. It has been reported on media websites.”
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the Minister could look into that. Minister Madduma Bandara said he did not know about Bodhi poojas so it was better they asked the Buddha Sasana Minister about that.
UPFA MP Shean Semasinghe said: “The DIG in question has been transferred to the Information Technology Division. The IT Division plays a vital role in providing evidence for this investigation. Now the DIG can tamper with the evidence.”
At this point Joint Opposition MP Kanaka Herath claimed that weapons belonging to the Police Terrorism Investigations Division had gone missing.
“It has been reported that a sniper rifle belonging to the TID had gone missing last week. We have serious doubts over what happened to that gun and for what purpose it will be used.”
The Law and Order Minister asked MP Herath to submit a written complaint about this so that the matter could be probed.
Thereafter, UPFA MP Sisira Jayakody pointed out that MP Gunawardana had posed the question to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but the Premier had remained silent.
In response, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the same individuals who removed the security detail of President Sirisena while he was a presidential candidate were now showing concern for the President’s wellbeing.
“When there is an investigation in progress, we cannot reveal everything as it will jeopardise the investigation. We are happy that you are very concerned about the safety and wellbeing of the President but it was you who removed his security when he was a presidential candidate. Did you have the same concerns then? Our security forces are ready to provide security to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa if he has any threats. I know that there is a crisis in his party. Under such a situation he may need security. You started this issue from the President and now you are talking of the IGP. If the IGP is not suitable for the post, you can raise that issue separately,” he explained.
Soon after the Prime Minister made his statement, Provincial Councils and Local Government Deputy Minister Sriyani Wijewickrama also called for the arrest of DIG De Silva and the resignation of the Inspector General of Police.
“This is a serious issue. The DIG should be interdicted and arrested if the investigation is to continue without his influence. The IGP should be removed and a new one should be appointed to conduct impartial investigations,” she said.
Thereafter, Speaker Jayasuriya said that he too was concerned and had summoned the IGP to discuss the matter.
“As soon as this was reported to me I discussed the matter with the relevant authorities. I summoned the IGP yesterday and discussed the issue with him. I too have a responsibility to ensure the security, safety and wellbeing of the President and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,” he stated.