Sirisena Directly Responsible For Easter Attacks
By Buddhika Samaraweera
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday (24)said, call details between him and the Senior Deputy Inspector Generals of Police (SDIGs) have disappeared from the database and the matter should be investigated in depth, since former President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother was the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd at that time.
Testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks in 2019, Jayasundara said when the intelligence report stated about a possible terror attack being launched by Zaharan Hashim and his followers in early April was forwarded to him, he instructed all SDIGs on further action to be taken.
However, when investigation officers of the PCoI were investigating the telephone records of Jayasundera, the details of telephone conversations between SDIGs and Jayasundera had not been found. Jayasundara said, it should be investigated in depth, since Sirisena's brother was the Chairman of SLT and Mobitel at the time.
Responding to a question raised by an Additional Solicitor General, as to whether he was aware of the fact that his telephone conversations were being monitored by intelligence officers, the witness said he came to know that SIS officers were tapping his telephones and that some officers were even deployed near his house. He also said it was somewhat problematic being monitored by intelligence officers, while he was the IGP.
Adding he said, the report he received from the then State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director, Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena with regard to a possible terror attack which could be launched by National Thowheed Jama’ath leader Zaharan Hashim and his followers, was forwarded to SDIG in charge of the Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG Crimes and Special Task Force (STF) M.R. Latif and Director of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) Waruna Jayasundara. The witness said he also took steps to call all the SDIGs of each province.
Members of the PCoI questioned the witness regarding a statement made by former Defence Secretary, Hemasiri Fernando during his testimony before the PCoI, that Sirisena had promised him perks including an ambassadorial post, if Jayasundera took responsibility for the bombings on Easter Sunday.
In response, Jayasundera said on 23 April 2019, two days after the bombings, Sirisena told him to visit the former President's official residence at Paget Road at 8:00 p.m. When questioned as to who was there when he visited, the witness said MPs Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Thilanga Sumathipala, and Mahinda Amaraweera were present.
According to Jayasundara, Sirisena had spoken to him for more than 45 minutes once the MPs left the location, and informed Jayasundera that he (Sirisena) could not be held responsible for the bombings, since he was not informed by Fernando or Jayasundara about the possibility of an attack. Mentioning that Jayasundara said nothing at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting held after the bombings, Sirisena insisted that he should take the responsibility for not preventing the attacks.
Testifying further, Jayasundera went on to say,"Sirisena also said a committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Wijith Malalgoda would be appointed and that I would be found guilty at the Commission. Then he said if I was to accept responsibility and resign, I would be released from the Commission and that any foreign or local post would be given as I desire."
When a PCoI member questioned him as to what was his response to Sirisena, the witness said that he could not do so since such an action would bring a blackmark to the entire Police Department. Then he said that he had told him everything that had to be said and left his residence.
He further said Sirisena, on 26 April 2019, called him again and asked as to why he had not sent the letter of resignation and added that a short while, former Secretary to the President, Udaya R. Seneviratne came to meet him.
According to Jayasundera, Seneviratne asked him to meet Sirisena and to solve the issue, to which Jayasundera had responded saying he could not accept responsibility for the bombings, since it happened due to a failure in the system. “I asked him what did all those who attended the NSC do. And what did the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) do with over 7,000 agents,” he said.
"Abdul Latiff Jameel Mohamed, who carried out the bombing at Tropical Inn Lodge in Dehiwala, had met an intelligence agent before he carried out the bombing. He left Taj Samudra, and took two three-wheelers to go to Dehiwala. Whom he had met should be investigated and those should be questioned here. It would reveal many more facts," he also added. He also said large funds received by former Governor of the Eastern Province, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah were released without conducting any investigation, after a single telephone call, and added if the investigations are being conducted into them properly, it will reveal what really happened.
Jayasundera claimed that Sirisena should directly be held responsible for the terror attack. His advisors should also be held responsible as well, he added.
“It had been a terrible experience for me to work with former President Sirisena, because he never gave me proper orders on any matter. I was extremely stressed when working with Sirisena and there was no one to share these issues with. Although there were some conflicts within certain communities prior to the bombings on Easter Sunday, the Government did not take steps to impose emergency law or to set up road blocks,” he stressed.