Former Editor fears attempt to compromise data on laptop

A former Editor of the Sunday Observer has raised fears that attempts might be made to compromise data on her laptop which was seized by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Dharisha Bastians, who is also a correspondent for the New York Times, said that for several months now her name has been linked to an ongoing criminal investigation into an alleged abduction that took place in November 2019.

She said that in connection with this investigation, the Criminal Investigation Department has questioned her associates and former colleagues specifically regarding her electronic devices.

In a statement issued today, Bastians said that on the 29th of May 2020 and the 4th of June 2020, officials from the Criminal Investigation Department arrived at her home in Colombo and made efforts to seize her personal laptop computer without a warrant.

“We obtained legal assistance and my family informed the CID officials that the device could not be handed over without a court order,” she said.

Bastians said that on June 9th, 2020 five CID officials arrived at her residence in Colombo with a warrant to search the house.

“The officers searched the entire house including bedrooms, my desk and my work space. Photographs were taken during the visit. My computer was found, seized and sealed. A receipt was provided for the laptop, the power adapter and the laptop bag. Statements were recorded from family members residing at my home,” she said.

Bastians said that on a previous occasion in the course of the same investigation, the CID obtained her Call Data Records without a court order, scrutinized them and subsequently exposed the information.

“As a journalist, I was horrified at the public exposure of my telephone records, which could seriously endanger and compromise my sources and contacts, then, now and in the future. I am willing to cooperate with any investigation by appropriate law enforcement agencies and I am confident the CID will find nothing incriminating in the analysis of my computer. But under the prevailing circumstances, I remain gravely concerned about potential efforts by interested parties to compromise the integrity of hardware, software, data and documents of the laptop and any other electronic material/devices belonging to me, obtained by law enforcement,” she said.

Bastians said that she is placing her faith in Sri Lanka’s judiciary, to ensure due process is followed with regard to her computer which is now in the custody of the CID, particularly because it is a device she once used in her work as a journalist. (Colombo Gazette)


  1. It has been obvious since the beginning, as it is with this case, abiding by the rule of law is the least of the priorities for Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency.

  2. Sri Lanka has always been a tribalist-minded country where people act with impunity when certain powers are given to them by virtue of their official job. Rather than exercise caution and being sensitive to people’s legal right to privacy or independence, the people in authority are easily miffed by any assertive stance taken by a member of the public rather than being submissive and docile. These are trade mark qualities of cowards and people who are unable to stand on their own without the support of a gang (like in police teams or tax teams or car-seizers or anti-drug teams or any other group with some powers). In the absence of independent bodies that oversee these kinds of excesses, everyone will take the law into their own hands and not care about legality, morality or ethical conduct. Those who have travelled to developed countries in Europe for example will see how different their societies are.

  3. At a time Invaders & Destroyers have been invaded & destroyed by COVID, Dharsha you know what you have done. It is serious when a person betray a Country than a person.
    Hand of God will catch up as COVID. Joy & happiness is temporary.
    Staying safe will not save you.
    Whether a Tribalist minded or Gotabaya, one must never betray ones own Country.
    Prof. Pethiyagoda, where do you find Independence bodies????????get off your blinkers. Don’t blame Rajapakshes for everything including your mistakes & short comings.
    That retribution is harsher.
    Right now, Invaders & destroyers are being Invaded & Destroyed by an unseen COVID


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