The journalist who predicted the assassination of drug kingpin Makandure Madush has been arrested by a police division notorious for extra-judicial execution of suspects and fabricating evidence to charge critics of the Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.
Keerthi Ratnayake, who writes on defence and political affairs for the website LankaEnews exposed a plot to kill Madush three days before he was gunned down in the custody of the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD). Ratnayake also predicted the execution of Kosgoda Tharaka, another key underworld figure in police custody in May 2021.
Now the CCD, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s police division of choice to persecute critics and perceived enemies of his regime, arrested Ratnayake on Saturday, August 14.
Police claim the arrest was to “verify the credibility” of the journalist’s reports regarding an alleged attack on a foreign diplomatic mission in Colombo.
The journalist, who is a former Sri Lanka Air Force Officer, warned that the Indian Embassy in Colombo was at risk of attack from Taliban extremists working in league with the Chinese Government which has a huge presence in Sri Lanka. Ratnayake strongly recommended that the Indian mission beefs up security in the days leading up to India’s Independence Day on August 15. Ratnayake has consistently reported that there was a presence of more than 500 Chinese troops in Sri Lanka, information that appeared to be validated when Chinese nationals in camouflage fatigues were recorded on video dredging the historic Tissamaharama tank in the Hambantota District.
The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) is home to two of Sri Lanka’s most ruthless and corrupt police officers – ASP Neville De Silva and Inspector (IP) Jagath Nishantha.
The two cops have spearheaded witch hunts against former CID Chief SSP Shani Abeysekera, CID Sub Inspector Sugath Mendis and CID IP Prematilake, accusing the honest investigators of fabricating evidence to convict former SDIG Vas Gunewardane of murder. Mendis told the Gampaha Magistrate that the two CCD cops had attempted to coerce false testimony from him, implicating SSP Abeysekera of falsifying evidence.
Notorious criminal Makandure Madush, who was finally extradited to Sri Lanka after lengthy extradition hearings in the UAE, was murdered in the custody of ASP De Silva and IP Nishantha.
Fellow scribes are frantic about Keerthi Ratnayake’s safety in CCD custody, Colombo Telegraph learns.
Colombo Telegraph learns the arrest was ordered by Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police for the Western Province, Deshabandu Tennakoon. SDIG Tennakoon was roundly criticized by media rights groups recently after he openly threatened journalist Tharindu Jayawardane on Facebook, warning the scribe that he would suffer a fate like LTTE Leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.
Ratnayake has repeatedly reported that SDIG Tennakoon was in league with drug traffickers in Sri Lanka, and hinted that the custodial murder of Kosgoda Tharaka was carried out by a hit squad led by the senior cop.
SDIG Tennakoon is strongly tipped to take over as Police Chief in due course. (Nimal Ratnaweera)