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AG to move HC over eight related incidents 

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Easter Sunday carnage probe:

… gems worth Rs 14 mn among cash, jewellery, etc., worth 340 mn recovered

By Shamindra Ferdinando  

The Police Headquarters says Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, will soon move High Court in respect of eight incidents related to the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide attacks.  

Officers of the AG’s Department along with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) were preparing in that regard, Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said.  

According to SDIG, in charge of the police Legal Division, altogether, the CID and the TID had investigated 17 incidents and the previous AG Dappula de Livera, PC, filed cases in the High Courts of Kegalle, Kandy, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Colombo in respect of nine investigations. Rajaratnam succeeded de Livera on May 26. SDIG Rohana said that the CID and the TID would conduct further investigations into fresh findings made because of ongoing discussions among the AG’s officers and representatives of the CID and the TID. A series of suicide attacks in Colombo, Batticaloa and Negombo on April 21, 2019 claimed the lives of 270, including 45 foreigners. The police blamed now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) for the attacks. Police headquarters announced the move to file the remaining eight cases in the wake of the Catholic Church stepping up pressure over what Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith called unsatisfactory status of the investigations 

SDIG Rohana said that during the investigations the CID and the TID took 724 persons into custody. Out of whom, 227 persons had been remanded pending further investigations whereas 83 were held in terms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The rest had been granted bail.

Among those detained are All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and Vanni

District Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP Rishad Bathiudeen and his brother, Riyaj as well as JVP National List nominee Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, father of two suicide bombers, who perished in the wave of attacks on Easter Sunday 2019. Investigators have recovered Rs 28.5 mn in cash, USD 695,830, three blue gems estimated to be worth Rs 14 mn and jewellery to the tune of Rs 24 mn from some of the suspects.  

 SDIG Rohana said altogether they had recovered Sri Lankan rupees, USD, gems, and jewellery worth Rs 205 mn. The government, in terms of the PTA has also taken over several properties owned by Easter Sunday carnage suspects, he said.  

Among the properties are 18-acre Lactowatta in Karadipuwal, Wanathavilluwa, 25-acre land at Aselapura in Welikanda, another 25-acre land at Ollipuram in Kattankudy and luxury house situated on 8.5 perch land at Dematagoda, where wife of one of the suicide bombers triggered a blast when the police surrounded the house. The police arrested her father-in-law spice merchant Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim whose two sons — identified as Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim and Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim — detonated their explosives at the Shangri-La and the Cinnamon Grand hotels, respectively. The police have also taken into custody seven vans, one Bolero jeep, seven motorcycles and one three-wheeler used by those involved in the conspiracy. SDIG Rohana said that the police investigating Easter Sunday attacks recorded staggering 9,800 statements and analyzed 21,000 telephone numbers, in addition to the recovery of Rs 134 mn from 100 bank accounts. Responding to another question, the top police officer said that the police also inquired into NTJ activities in the run-up to the Easter Sunday attacks. There had been organized attempts to entice those who sat the GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level into the NTJ’s ranks, SDIG Rohana said.  

Meanwhile, top Church spokesperson Rev Father Cyril Gamini Fernando asked whether the AG Department and the police would consider the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission. Rev. Fernando said that the Church expected the government to punish those who had planned the heinous attacks. Dealing with those who had neglected their responsibilities despite being constitutionally responsible for safety and security of the people was as important as exposing the masterminds, Rev Fernando said.  

Responding to another query, Rev. Fernando recalled what former AG de Livera, PC said days before he retired. President’s Counsel de Livera declared that the Easter Sunday massacre was a high-profile conspiracy, Rev Fernando recalled. Now that he was no longer at the helm of the AG’s Department, his successor Rajaratnam should bring the investigations to a successful conclusion, the priest said. 



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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