November 15, 2019
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    Eng

    Fmr. Defence Secy, IGP further remanded

    July 04, 2019

    Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara, who were arrested on charges of criminal negligence and the failure to prevent or minimize the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, were further remanded till July 9 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne.

    When the magisterial inquiry into the incident was taken up before the Court yesterday, Deputy Solicitor General Thusitha Mudalige appearing on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday informed the Court that former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujitha Jayasundara had received several intelligence information briefs regarding the attack. But they had not taken any action regarding the Easter Sunday attacks. The State Intelligence Service (SIS) had sent letters on April 09, 18 and 20 to the IGP and Secretary of Defense.

    DSG Thusitha Mudalige informed the court that IGP Jayasundara had received details regarding the Easter Sunday attack on April 09.DSG Mudalige further told the Court that the then IGP Jayasundara had sent that letter to Western Province Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Special Task Force, Senior Deputy Inspector General (Special Protection Division) and Senior Deputy Inspector General of Terrorism Investigation Division.

    “When the National Security Council met on April 9, Secretary of Defense Hemasiri Fernando had not mentioned anything regarding that matter before the Council. A blast took place in Kaththankudi area on April 17. Then they identified it as a prior signal for the next blast and they had not taken any action against the terror attack,” DSG Mudalige added.

    DSG Mudalige said that according to the statement given by Chief of the State Intelligence, he had revealed that he sent several letters to both the suspect and given phone calls to them to inform them of this matter. The Chief of State Intelligence also informed the IGP of the threat the day before the Easter Sunday attack through Whats App social media.

    DSG Mudalige further told the Court that the Intelligence Service had been sending details pertaining to National Thawheed Jama’ath Leader Zaharan Hasheem to IGP Jayasundara and Secretary of Defense Hemasiri since 2016. The Chief of the State Intelligence Service had sent a report to the IGP on April 09 describing the nature of the suicide bombers and the places where the attack would take place. It contained names of 15 terrorists including six of those suicide bombers.The suspects are charged under Section 296, 298,327, 328,326 and 410 of the Penal code.
    President’s Counsel Anuj Premarathne appearing on behalf of the former Secretary of Defense Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police Pujitha Jayasundara submitted before the Court that the Intelligence Unit was under the supervision of the Defense Minister. Counsel Premarathne stated that the National Security Council was not established under any legal act or gazette. The National Security Council met for the last time on February 17, before the extremist terrorist attacks.

    “According to the information received, it was stated that terrorists were planning to target several important Catholic churches and the Indian High Commission,” Premarathne added.Counsel Premaratne said that the President had instructed IGP Jayasundara that his (Jayasundara’s) presence was no longer required at the National Security Council (NSC) meetings. There was no provision for the Head of the National Intelligence Unit to pass information to the IGP or the Secretary Defence. The Head of the National Intelligence have to provide information directly to the President or Defence Minister. “According to the statement given by Head of National Intelligence, he had directed that detail to Secretary of Defense Hemasiri Fernanado and IGP, ” PC Premarathne added.

    “The first suspect Defence Secretary Fernando played a major role within the National Security Committee and he had to prepare the agenda of the NSC. Navy Commander, Army Commander, Air force Commander, chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis and several others also participated this Council. When the Council met on April 04, Head of the State Intelligence had the responsibility to explain the existing security updates of the country. However he had not done such explanation during the Council meeting,” Premarathne added.

    Defence Counsel Premarathne further told the court that IGP Jayasundara had received a letter from head of the National Intelligence on April 08 in writing regarding information about the activities of National Thawheed Jama’ath Leader Zaharan Hasheem. Subsequently, IGP Jayasundara sent a copy of the same letter to Senior Deputy Inspector General of the Criminal Investigations Department on April 09. So the Senior DIG of the CID did know the matter.

    Counsel Premarathne also stated that Jayasundara had informed the Chief of Defense staff and, commanders of the Navy, Army and Air force regarding the matter.

    “However the investigation against IGP Jayasundara had been handed over to the same Senior DIG of the Criminal Investigation Department to whom Jayasundara had earlier informed of the matter,” Premarathne added.

    Counsel Premarathne also stated that his client IGP Jaysundara had informed about the threats to Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon. However the OIC of the Katuwapitiya Police had informed the Western Province Senior DIG, that they (the Police) did not provide a special security to the Katuwapitiya Church as it was not a significant church.

    Premarathne informed the Court that the National Intelligence unit had received the first information regarding the attack from India. IGP Jayasundara had not received any prior information regarding the Easter Sunday attack. Defence Counsel Premarathne pleaded court to grant his clients bail.

    Secretary of Defense Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Jayasundara are currently receiving treatment at the Colombo General Hospital and the Police Hospital respectively. However, they are under custody of prisons officials.

    The Magistrate ordered the both counsels to make their written submissions before July 05. The Magistrate ordered the prison authorities to produce the two suspects before the Court and fixed the bail order for July 9.

     

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