The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on political victimisation has sought details on the whereabouts of IP Nishantha Silva.
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was instructed by the Commission to report on the whereabouts of Nishantha Silva in order to secure his repatriation.
Six days into Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s presidency, the security detail provided to Silva was summarily removed, prompting security fears for the top detective handling some of the most high profile cases at the Department.
However, he fled the county soon after the last Presidential election.There were reports that Silva and his family fled to Switzerland to seek asylum.
It was later reported that Sri Lanka had sought the extradition of Silva and his family from Switzerland and that the request was rejected. The Swiss Embassy in Colombo, however, said that no such request had been made.
IP Silva who functioned as the OIC of the Gang Robberies Branch at the CID, had overseen some of the CID’s most sensitive and high profile investigations, including the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the abduction and assault of journalist Keith Noyahr and the disappearance and suspected murder of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda.
IP Silva also was also instrumental in handling the abduction for ransom racket carried out by Naval personnel between 2008-2009. 11 Tamil youth were abducted and illegally detained at two navy bases and ultimately killed, Silva’s investigations revealed. Just before the presidential election, the Attorney General decided to request a trial at bar to hear the navy abductions case and indicted several navy officers in connection with the trial, including former Commander Wasantha Karannagoda.
Many of the cases handled by Silva have implicated military intelligence personnel in the grave crimes against journalists and others, making Silva a target of the security establishment and Sinhala hardline monks.
During the October 2018 attempted coup, the National Security Council was especially convened for the sole purpose of expediting the transfer of IP Nishantha Silva out of the CID, according to testimony provided by former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, when he appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee hearings into the Easter Sunday attacks recently.
At the time, the IGP was ordered to transfer Silva to Negombo on a service requirement.The transfer was reversed within 24 hours after a massive public outcry against the move and a stern warning from the National Police Commission that they would step in unless Silva was reinstated.
The transfer was seen as being politically motivated in order to ensure the investigations Silva was leading would be stalled or sabotaged.