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Easter carnage:

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Hadiya’s testimony in camera: Eran questioned on his claims over terror funding

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating a complaint lodged by the State Intelligence Service (SIS) have questioned Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Eran Wickremaratne on his recent accusations pertaining to post-2019 Easter Sunday carnage developments and revelations.

Police headquarters said that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had recorded the SJB National List MP’s statement over certain claims made by him at a media conference given on Nov 12.

The CID dealt with the MP’s claim pertaining to the funding of the Easter Sunday attackers, the threat on Easter Sunday bomber Zahran Hashim’s widow Abdul Cader Fathima Hadiya and her being detained at the Tangalle prison.

Police headquarters said that the Prisons Department denied ever moving Fathima Hardiya to the Tangalle Prison.

Authoritative sources told The Island that an attempt was being made to divert the public attention away from those really responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage.

The CID has told the former UNP State Minister Wickremaratne that he was questioned over his comments on a statement purported to have been made by Fathima Hardiya before the Presidential Commission on the Easter attacks.

Lawmaker Wickremaratne who arrived at the CID at 2.30 pm on Monday left four hours later.

The Police headquarters said that the CID recorded the MP’s statement in respect of what the police described as uncertain and disputable claims. On the basis of the MP’s statement, the CID has initiated an inquiry into a website that covered Zahran’s wife being moved to Welikanda hospital after she was tested corona positive soon after she gave evidence before the P CoI in camera on Oct 23 and 24.

In addition to direct links between suicide bombers and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) as alleged by some, a section of the media quoted Hadiya as having revealed funding received by her husband in the run-up to the Easter attacks. The media also alleged that the bomber who blew himself up at Dehiwela had been in touch with a Military Intelligence officer less than an hour before his suicide blast.

Last Friday (13) DIG Ajith Rohana, who is also the head of the Police Legal Division told the media of the appointment of two teams to probe an alleged attempt to undermine ongoing investigations into Easter carnage.

Six suicide blasts on Easter Sunday 2019 claimed 270 lives whereas over 500 others received injuries.

Authoritative sources said that Hadiya recovered and was safe.

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary

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There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran

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But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President

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The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.

 

 

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