Police conspiracy against state
Posted on September 22nd, 2018

By Udaya P Gammanpila Courtesy Ceylon Today

There was a rare Media conference in Kandy on 12 September which chilled, numbed and instilled fear in the entire nation. It was organized by an organization called the Anti-Corruption Force. Namal Kumara of the organization disclosed a conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and Gotabaya Rajapaksa by a group led by DIG Nalaka Silva. In proof of the allegation, he produced an audio tape which allegedly contained the voice of the DIG.

President Sirisena is the Head of State.  Gotabaya is a potential head of State. Hence, this is not a mere assassination attempt. It is a conspiracy against the State or a coup. When an attempted coup has been exposed in any country, it is a serious issue. The gravity increases several folds when a senior police officer has been accused of his involvement in the coup. In such a scenario, the Government should have promptly arrested the suspects. That is what happens in other countries. That is what happened in Sri Lanka in response to the attempted coup in 1962.
I rushed to hold a Media conference and urged the Government to arrest and remand the suspects immediately after sending the DIG on compulsory leave.  I further requested that the IGP be advised to tender his resignation. According to the Bail Act, there are four reasons to remand a suspect. Three of them are applicable to the DIG. Those are possibility of influencing witnesses, risk of destroying evidence and possible public commotion. The DIG can influence not only witnesses, but also investigating police officers because of his official capacity.
Extraordinary relationship
The IGP has an extraordinary relationship with the DIG.  The IGP saved the DIG whenever he was in trouble.  That is why we urged the Government to request the resignation of the IGP to ensure an independent and impartial inquiry against the DIG.

Mysteriously, the Government did not take any action against DIG Silva.  We gradually built a Media campaign to force the Government to act. After five days, he was transferred to another division instead of sending him on compulsory leave. He was so confident about his immediate return to his Division that he told his subordinates that he would be back in the Division soon.

We mounted further pressure on the Government. We pointed out that unless the Prime Minister takes urgent action on this issue, people may suspect that he is party to the coup since he is the sole beneficiary of a presidential assassination.

Constitution
According to our Constitution, if the office of President falls vacant because of the death or any other reason, Parliament should elect a parliamentarian to that office.  Being the person who enjoys the support of the majority in Parliament, the Prime Minister would be the most potential person to be the next President.  Pressurizing the PM brought the desired outcome. Finally, DIG Silva was sent on compulsory leave.  However, no action so far has been taken to arrest and remand him.

The Government’s behaviour is baffling in comparison to its reaction to complaints against Buddhist monks, Opposition parliamentarians and war heroes. The Police officers, compelled by government politicos, not only promptly arrested such persons but also urged the Courts not to grant bail.
Escape
What DIG Silva enjoys has been previously enjoyed by Arjuna Mahendran, the former Governor of the Central Bank.  The Government did not arrest Arjuna Mahendran despite repeated requests of the Opposition, until his escape to Singapore.

As previously pointed out, the IGP’s continuation in office is the biggest obstacle to the investigation.  The IGP’s intimate relationship with DIG Silva was confirmed by post-exposure events.  Firstly, the IGP publicly told said the audio tape in question was suspicious.  He jumped to the conclusion that the allegation was baseless before commencing investigations. Secondly, he assigned the investigation to the Special Investigation Unit which is headed by another notorious police officer, SSP Mevan Silva.

Because of the public outcry, it was later transferred to the CID. Thirdly, the IGP attended a Bodhi Pooja at Kelaniya Temple to invoke blessings on DIG Silva.  Reportedly, DIG Nalaka had said that he would be the next IGP with the blessings and guidance of the present IGP.

Serious allegations
In the light of above, an impartial and independent investigation cannot be expected as long as Pujith Jayasundara sticks to the office of the IGP.  His career is full of corruption allegations. Unfortunately, he survived despite serious allegations being leveled against him.  Hence, the President, being the appointing authority, should advise him to tender his resignation not only to independently conduct an investigation into the assassination attempt but also to protect the dignity of the once glorified police force.

The power to remove the IGP is vested with Parliament.  In terms of Removal of Officers (Procedure) Act No .5 of 2002, the IGP should be removed by the President, if Parliament makes such a request from the President having passed a resolution to that effect with a simple majority including members not present at the time of voting. Unless the President advises the IGP to resign, Parliament will be compelled to pass a resolution to expel Pujith Jayasundara from office.

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