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IGP testifies against ex-IGP in Easter case 

a year ago

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  • IGP late for court; court advises accordingly
  • Notes SIS info need not be 100% complete to order probe 
BY Buddhika Samaraweera Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne yesterday (29) appeared before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar where he testified in the case filed against former IGP Pujith Jayasundara over the latter’s alleged failure to take action to prevent the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019.  When the case was called up before the Trial-at-Bar Judges Namal Balalle, Adithya Patabendige, and Mohamed Irshadeen last Friday (26), Senior Deputy Solicitor General (SDSG) Dileepa Peiris, appearing on behalf of the prosecution, requested the court to summon current IGP Wickramaratne, who is named as a witness in the case, to give evidence. Accordingly, he arrived at the court at around 10 a.m. yesterday but the court had commenced its proceedings at 9.30 a.m. Therefore, the court advised the IGP that witnesses should appear before the court at the correct time. When questioned about the responsibilities of the IGP regarding national security, the witness said that as a member of the National Security Council, the IGP has the powers to maintain law and order. “It is a heavy responsibility. It cannot be confined to a framework. The IGP has a huge responsibility regarding national security,” he said. However, he stated that the actions taken by him as the IGP in any case may be different from the actions taken by the previous IGPs. He added that there was no rule that the actions taken by one IGP should be taken by all other IGPs. Meanwhile, when queried as to whether the information provided by the State Intelligence Service (SIS) to the IGP should be 100% complete in order for an investigation to be commenced, Wickramaratne said that there was no need for the information to be 100% complete. “The IGP should investigate and act on the information received. The IGP should always think that there is an invisible side and therefore, make decisions in consultation with other officers. There are also times when individual decisions have to be made. The IGP should be prepared for such,” he said. The case is to be taken up again on 18 January 2022. On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches (St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, and Zion Church in Batticaloa) and three luxury hotels in Colombo (Cinnamon Grand Colombo, The Kingsbury Colombo, and Shangri-La Colombo) were targeted in a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, another two bomb explosions took place at a house in Dematagoda and the Tropical Inn Lodge in Dehiwala. A total of 269 people excluding the bombers were killed in the bombings, including about 45 foreign nationals, while at least 500 were injured. All eight of the suicide bombers in the attacks were Sri Lankan citizens associated with the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) organisation founded by the suicide bomber at Shangri-La Colombo, Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zaharan alias Zaharan Hashim.

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