No plans yet to arrest Rev. Cyril Gamini
- CID informs SC through AG’s Dept.
- Catholic clergy stages silent protest near SC
BY Buddhika Samaraweera
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the Supreme Court (SC) through the Attorney General’s (AG) Department yesterday (8) that there were no plans as of yet to arrest National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) President’s Counsel (PC) Rohantha Abeysuriya, who appeared for the CID Director, made the said announcement when the fundamental rights (FR) petition filed by Fr. Fernando, seeking an injunction restraining his arrest by the CID or any other police officer, was called up for hearing yesterday.
ASG Abeysuriya PC further informed the SC that a decision would be taken on the advice of AG Sanjay Rajaratnam PC after the completion of the CID investigation into the complaint lodged by State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay against Fernando.
Rienzie Arsekularatne PC, appearing for Fernando, told the SC that his client was ready to appear before the CID and make a statement at an appropriate time.
Chairman of the three-judge bench hearing the said FR application, Justice Vijith Kumara Malalgoda PC ,then informed ASG Abeysuriya PC to direct the CID to summon the petitioner (Fernando) and record a statement by giving the latter sufficient time.
During the hearing of this petition, the Catholic clergy and the public staged a silent protest on the main road closeby to the SC.
Fernando, who is also the St. Anne’s Church, Kurana, Parish Priest, on 2 November, filed a FR petition in the SC seeking an order staying 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’s 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.
A complaint was filed at the CID against Fernando and others who attended a recent online forum, by Maj. Gen. Sallay, on 25 October, 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, 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 27 October 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 the said recent discussion between the Catholic church and a group of Sri Lankans living abroad, a presentation was made, which alleged that there is credible evidence that Sallay 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 at Shangri-La, Colombo on 21 April 2019.