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Ex-TID head Nalaka de Silva says his own arrest buckled their plan to catch Zahran



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former head of the TID Nalaka de Silva, on Friday, informed the  Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks that his arrest had made it impossible for the TID to arrest National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader, Zahran Hashim before the Easter Sunday attacks. He said the TID was following Zahran according to a plan.

Silva said that following his arrest the TID officers who were investigating Zahran had no proper leadership.

Silva said he had received information that Zahran had gone abroad in 2018, but the had not left the country.

Silva said that the TID had kept tabs on extremists like Zahran Hashim and Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed, who blew himself up the Dehiwala Tropical Inn lodge and reported their activities on a weekly basis to the former IGP Pujith Jayasundara.

Besides the weekly reports, the IGP had been kept informed of TID investigations, Silva said.

Earlier Silva said that a senior official of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and former IGP Pujith Jayasundara had asked them not to investigate a Mohammad Nilabdeen Mohammad Rimzan, a Sri Lankan who had returned after fighting for ISIS in 2018, he said.

Silva said that TID had picked up Nilabdeen Rimzan at the airport and asked him to come to the TID after initial questioning. However Deputy Director of SIS, Sampath Kumara had asked Silva not to pursue the investigation as SIS is conducting a separate investigation.

“Kumara asked me not to disturb Rimzan. I said we needed to question Rimzan because TID wanted to know why he had returned. It was the time when ISIS was losing and sending its  foreign fighters home. I then asked him to talk to the IGP and make a formal request,” he said. Subsequently a letter was sent by the IGP to then Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order, Pathmasiri Jayamanne on 14 March 2018


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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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