Set to appear again today regarding Sallay’s complaint
BY Buddhika SamaraweeraNational Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando appeared before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (15) and provided an approximately seven-hour-long statement with regard to the complaint lodged by State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, against Fernando.Speaking to reporters outside the CID headquarters, Fr. Fernando said that he is scheduled to appear before the CID once against today (16). He also said: “The remarks I made during that conference are based entirely on the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) and the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks. Those two reports are available to the public. The President handed over the PCoI report to the Attorney General (AG). The other report has been submitted to Parliament.” Speaking further, he said that it was the duty of the AG to implement the recommendations contained in the report prepared by the PCoI. “The AG has the responsibility to implement those recommendations. He has to act more responsibly. He has been entrusted with the task of implementing those reports, but he has hardly implemented them. Only a few of such recommendations have been implemented.” He further said that if the recommendations of such reports are implemented, it is possible to find out the truth behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks. “Relevant authorities, including the CID, should work to uncover those facts. That is not our role. The relevant institutions should do their job.” Fr. Fernando had been summoned to the CID last morning where he gave a statement. He was accompanied to the CID by several Catholic priests and also some Buddhist monks. In addition, several civil society activists were also seen waiting outside the CID.Speaking to the media at the time, Fr. Cecil Joy Perera, one of the Catholic priests who accompanied Fernando, said that the latter would not, at any point, evade any legal summons issued by the CID.On 25 October, a complaint was filed at the CID by Sallay against Fernando and others who attended a recent online forum, requesting an investigation into an allegation made against him during the said forum that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) terror group, which was behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019, was supported by the Intelligence services, including him (Sallay) in his capacity as then Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) Director.Accordingly, Fernando, who was issued summons to appear before the CID on 28 October to record a statement, had requested a week’s time to appear before the CID. He did not appear before the CID on 28 October whereas another three Church priests had arrived at the CID on his behalf. They also handed over a letter to the CID on behalf of Fernando.Against this backdrop, Fernando, on 2 November, filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court (SC) seeking an order stopping the CID and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne and any other police officer from arresting him. He had claimed in the application that the purpose of CID Special Unit Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Chief Inspector of Police (CI) Lalitha Dissanayake, who is the first respondent of the said petition, in sending a notice requesting him (Fernando) to appear before the CID without disclosing the fact that he was being suspected of having committed serious offences, is not only for the purpose of recording a statement from him, but to also arrest him when he appears before the CID.Fernando, who was then scheduled to appear before the CID on 3 November had informed the CID that he would not appear before the CID as he had already filed a FR petition in the SC.Furthermore, the CID, on 8 November, informed the SC through the Attorney General’s (AG) Department that there were no plans as of then to arrest Fernando. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) President’s Counsel (PC) Rohantha Abeysuriya, who appeared for the CID Director, made the said announcement when the FR petition filed by Fernando was called up for hearing.