Nalaka Silva’s arrest stalls TID’s probe on extremists – SP Nishantha

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TID Acting Director SP Jagath Nishantha said yesterday investigations which were being carried out by the TID into the extremist elements were stalled after the arrest of former TID Director Nalaka Silva in 2018.

SP Nishantha said a special research and analysis unit was established within the TID to look into extremist elements after an attack was launched on a hotel in Bangladesh in 2016. This he said was a brainchild of then TID Director Silva.

He said a number of other measures were taken to strengthen the TID during that time. “Japan donated us a vehicle equipped with modern equipment. This comprised of a device which could monitor locations which were 25 km away.

We purchased laptops and dongles to monitor internet while a Muslim officer was appointed to track down Islamic extremist elements,” he said.

Asked by the committee members as to whether the vehicle gifted from Japan was used for investigations, Nishantha said it could not be used as a result of the investigations which were carried out against TID Director Silva.

“We were asked by the CID officers who were carrying out investigations of Former TID Director Silva not use the vehicle until the investigations are completed. In this context, the investigations that we were carrying out on National Thowheed Jama’ath were affected,” he said.

“We sent several teams to crackdown NTJ Leader Zahran but it became a difficult task as the suspect was not using a mobile phone at that time. We almost got him, but he tactfully evaded, Nishantha said.