LNP – SIS Head ignored taking action against NTJ – STF chief
Director of State Intelligence Service (SIS), Nilantha Jayawardena,
had ignored a request made by the former head of the Terrorism
Investigation Division (TID) and incumbent Commandant of the Special
Task Force (STF), Waruna Jayasundara to obtain permission from the
President Maithripala Sirisena to take action against National Thowheed
Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim and his the Presidential Commission of
Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks was informed on
Jayasundara, testifying before the commission, on
Friday, said that he had made the request a day before the Easter Sunday
The witness said that at an Intelligence Review
Meeting held on 09 April, 2019, Jayawardena had spoken enthusiastically
about Zahran and his extremist activities, but did not tell the others
that he had received intelligence that NTJ would carry out an attack.
said that if Jayawardena had shared that information with others, on
April 09, the Easter Sunday attacks could have been thwarted with the
help of a joint operation.
The Attorney General’s (AG’s)
Department representative who led the evidence asked Jayasundara whether
he had followed up on the open warrant obtained, on 9 July, 2018, for
the arrest of Zahran by DIG Melaka de Silva, who was the Director of the
TID before Jayasundara. The witness said that the TID had launched
eight operations to arrest Zahran in areas such as Kanttankudy, and
“TID officials went to Zahran’s wife’s house
in Kekunugolla on 28 February, 2019, but the Criminal Investigations
Department (CID) asked TID officials to leave that place as they were
doing the investigation,” Jayasundara said.
Although the TID
had obtained a warrant for the arrest of Zahran, the CID was the
foremost investigation unit of the Sri Lanka Police, he said.
witness also said that the intelligence review meeting held on 09
April, 2019 was the first one he had attended. Jayasundara said that he
was at the Ministry of Defence over some other matter on that day and
the then Inspector General Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara had taken him
to the meeting.
“It was my first time there. I noted
that the then SIS Director Jayawardana drawing attention of others to
Zahran and his activities. Although he made a lengthy statement that
Zahran was a serious threat, but he did not utter a single word about
the intelligence report he had already received about the possibility of
an attack by Zahran and his associates.” However, the following day the
IGP had sent the TID an intelligence report warning of a possible
attack. Jayasundara said, adding that after receiving the information,
he had immediately summoned the OIC and the ASP of the TID and
instructed them to take necessary action.
“I also got an intelligence officer in the Chilaw area to check whether Zahran was staying in the Wanathavilluwa area,” he said.
said that on 19 April, 2019, the former SIS Director had telephoned him
and asked if he was aware of any incident in Kattankudi. “He told me
that was a big problem there. He also mentioned that there would be an
attack. The manner in which he spoke, clearly indicated that he was very
The witness said that he had requested the former
SIS Director to obtain permission from the President to deploy an STF
team to stop Zahran and his associates.
“But there was no response from him,” the witness said.
said that when he was in charge of intelligence at the STF, two special
camps had been set up in the Kalawanchikudi and Arugambay areas and
about 13 intelligence officers deployed due to the growing extremist
activities in the Eastern Province.
However, by October
2018, the then Commandant of the STF, M.R. Latheef had removed those
intelligence officers as well as the two camps, he said.
Therefore, from October 2018 until the time of the Easter Sunday bombings, STF intelligence officers were not on surveillance duty in the Eastern Province. Thus, there had been no weekly intelligence input from that area, DIG Jayasundara told the PCoI.