Intel received weeks before Easter Attacks, not raised at Security Meeting – Witness

Intel received weeks before Easter Attacks, not raised at Security Meeting – Witness

Intel received weeks before Easter Attacks, not raised at Security Meeting – Witness

Written by Zulfick Farzan

24 Nov, 2021 | 6:42 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Former State Intelligence Service Chief & Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena testified that on the 31st of October 2017 he submitted a secret report to the then-Inspector General of Police with the names of 94 individuals including Zaharan Hashim and suicide bombers responsible for the easter attacks, and requested that an investigation be launched and the progress be reported.

However, according to the witness, he nor any other intelligence officer were summoned to assist in the investigations or for gathering information.

The Senior Police Officer testified at the Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar in the case filed against Ex-Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara and Ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, who are charged under 855 counts individually, with failing to prevent the 2019 April 21st Terror Attacks.

The examination of evidence, in this case, commenced in the presence of Justices Namal Balalle, Aditya Patabendige, and Mohamed Irshadeen.

The witness told the court that on the 4th of April 2019, at 10:30 AM he received intel via Whatsapp from a foreign intelligence source that terrorists may target the Indian High Commission in Colombo and other key places of worship in the country.

The witness said he passed on the information to then-National Intelligence Service Chief Sisira Mendis anticipating his advice.

Nilantha Jayawardena testified that he immediately dispatched teams to the eastern part of the country to make inquiries, adding that he submitted the intelligence information provided to him by the foreign national and another, in writing as well.

The Senior Police Office said he thereafter informed the Defence Secretary and the Inspector General of Police of these developments.

He said that later he received a report from National Intelligence Service Chief Sisira Mendis noting that Zaharan Hashim had fled to India with the assistance of the brother of a powerful senior politician, while it also claimed that Zaharan Hashim was in hiding in Colombo and another place.

He said that since the information was unclear he inquired about it from National Intelligence Service Chief Sisira Mendis over the phone, who responded to inform the Defence Secretary of the same concerns.

The Former State Intelligence Chief said several days later on the 9th of April when the National Security Council met under the auspices of the Defence Secretary, the intelligence in his possession was not taken up for discussion.

He said he communicated to National Intelligence Service Chief Sisira Mendis about it and told him not to hold on to the information as it would lead to a serious issue.

“He asked me what action I have taken on the information,” said the witnesses.

Justice Aditya Patabendige questioned the witness as to why he did not make any attempt to raise the matter for discussion as the Head of State Intelligence, given the serious nature of the information.

The witness said he was reminded of it by the National Intelligence Service Chief, and that he was not able to request for the matter to be discussed as the information had not transformed into credible intelligence.

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