News

Church’s Cyril Gamini Fernando requests week’s time to appear at CID

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. and Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, who was issued summons to appear before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (28) to record a statement regarding a complaint made by State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, has requested a week to appear before the CID.

Fernando did not appear before the CID yesterday, 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.

Speaking to the media after handing over said letter, Fr. Shanthi Kumar Weliwita, representing the Archdiocese of Colombo, said: “We are here today to deliver a letter on behalf of Fernando. He asked for a period of one week for legal assistance and advice. Accordingly, the CID gave permission for that.”

A complaint was filed at the CID against Fernando and others who attended a recent online forum, by Sallay on Monday (25), 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), who was the then Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) Director.

Accordingly, the CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday (27) that investigations would be initiated into the complaint, after which Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala ordered the CID to commence the relevant investigation and inform the court of its progress.

During said discussion between the Catholic church and a group of Sri Lankans living abroad last week, a presentation was made, which alleged that there is credible evidence that Sallay, who was the then DMI Director, and other intelligence agencies had provided financial and other forms of support to the NTJ group, including its Leader Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zahran alias Zahran Hashim, prior to 2015. Zahran was one of the suicide bombers of the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo on 21 April 2019.