Written by Zulfick Farzan
17 May, 2021 | 3:38 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Evidence and Intelligence material and relevant pieces of information must be carefully evaluated in order to reach a conclusion on the leadership with regard to the 2019 April 21st Attacks.
“There is a Grand Conspiracy with regard to the 2019 April Attacks,” said Sri Lanka’s Attorney General adding the information by the State Intelligence Service with times, targets, places, method of attacks and other information is clear evidence there was a Grand Conspiracy in place.
Speaking exclusively to News 1st’s Zulfick Farzan, Attorney General Dappula De Livera said that the identities of those involved in the grand conspiracy must come by the way of evidence.
He said the AGs Department is now focused on a conspiracy surrounding the terror attacks adding that there are multiple suspects connected to it including Naufer Maulavi, the person that the Sri Lankan government ruled as the mastermind of the attacks.
On the 06th of April 2021, Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara told reporters that Naufer Maulavi was identified as the mastermind of the 2019 April 21st Attacks.
However, Attorney General De Livera speaking to News 1st said Naufer Maulavi is a key figure in the conspiracy to carry out the attacks, and it is not possible to confirm if he was the mastermind, though he is leader of the group.
“This needs to be looked at holistically and time would tell,” said the Attorney General adding the present investigation is on a group of people who participated in planning the attacks.
The suicide bombers are the people who executed this conspiracy and they are not among the living, said the Attorney General noting that a considerable number of people who assisted the suicide bombers have been identified by detectives.
“The conspirators of these attacks are at a different level. People like Zaharan Hashim (the leader of the group that carried out the attacks) would have been involved in the conspiracy though he decided to explode himself,” De Livera added.
“We cannot say the investigations on the Grand Conspiracy has been concluded,” said Dappula De Livera.
According to the Attorney General, some planned the attacks and there are those who acted in between to direct the suicide bombers to execute the attacks as part of the grand conspiracy, however, the evidence must be looked at very carefully.
For the moment the investigators have not brought evidence of foreign individuals who are connected to the attacks, and these people are referred to as ‘others unknown to the prosecution’, said the Attorney General noting it is probable they would never be known, however, the investigations are focused on three people living overseas (Lukman Thalib and Son in Australia and Abu Hind in India) for their connection to the attacks.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah Jasmine, the Attorney General said her death at the Sainthamaruthu gun battle followed by an explosion is yet to be confirmed.
“We understand that she fled to India, but that too is not confirmed. Actually, her whereabouts remain unknown,” said the Attorney General.
There is no evidence to prove there was a foreign hand in the attacks, at the moment, said the Attorney General adding that the Foreign Violent Extremist Religious Ideology was imported to Sri Lanka at some point and it played a key role in carrying out the attacks.
Attorney General Dappula De Livera said there are many other cases connected to the 2019 April 21st Attacks that need to be looked at and they are;
01. 16th April 2019 motorcycle explosion in the Eastern Province (Kattankudy)
02. The Grand Conspiracy
03. The Sainthamaruthu Gun Battle and Explosion
04. Public Officers in the Defence and Police hierarchy who failed to prevent the attacks
05. PCoI recommendations on Former President Maithripala Sirisena and Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“These matters need to be investigated and more evaluation needs to be done,” stressed the Attorney General highlighting that the probe is more complex than thought.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Dappula De Livera has made a public announcement noting that he is not in a position to present charges or indictments against the conspirators and abettors of the 2019 April 21st Attacks during his tenure in office as the investigations carried out by the Criminal Investigations Department are incomplete.
The announcement was made by State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General on Saturday (15).
“The CID is yet to conclude all investigations into all suspects connected to the 2019 April 21st Attacks,” said State Counsel Nishara Jayarartne.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has sought clarification from the Inspector General Police with regard to over-hanging investigations on the 2019 April 21st Attacks.
The Attorney General has sought confirmed from IGP in a 130 communication of evidence against 42 suspects in Category A of 2019 terror attacks and sought clarification whether any investigations are pending while noting that investigations against 05 suspects are incomplete.
The five suspects are Mohamed Asim, Mohamed Rizwan, Mohamed Waqar Yunus , Mohamed Fazan and Shaul Hameed Hameez Mohamed.
In addition, the Attorney General had also sought clarification with regard to the investigations on 29 other suspects.
“Apart from the 71 suspects mentioned above, the Attorney General sought information from the IGP with regard to any suspects being investigated over the 2019 April 21st Attacks,” said AGs CO to News 1st.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview with News 1st’, Attorney General Dappula De Livera said the case with regard to the 08 simultaneous and coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka’s Capital and in two other areas in 2019 cannot move forward as investigations are still incomplete.
“The investigations are incomplete and I am unable to move the cases due to this reason,” said De Livera on Wednesday (12).
“I have addressed a long list of directives and instructions to the IGP and given him a deadline until next week to comply. I am unable to take the 2019 21st April Attacks to court due to over-hanging investigations with regard to certain suspects,” he said.
The Attorney General had requested the IGP to clarify the number of suspects arrested in regard to the April 21st Attacks and whether investigations have been fully completed on all those suspects.
He had also called for an update on the status of investigations on certain suspects which are yet to be completed.
“This will be probably the only case that I would not be in a position to forward indictments during my tenure due to delays in investigation. Otherwise, all these cases would have been carried forward during my tenure,” he said.
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