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* Nearly 15,000 people were aware of the plans of an attack, former SIS Director tells Commission
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 12:07 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 20, Colombo: Former Director of the State Intelligence Service Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena Monday (19) told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Easter Sunday attacks that as of April 11 last year, nearly 15,000 people were aware of intelligence that Saharan Hashim had planned the bombings.

Nilantha Jayawardena revealed this when he was cross-examined by President's Counsel appearing for Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The former Director of the State Intelligence Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena testified before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the 21 April 2019 attack for the 24th day.

“We often mentioned Saharan's name. For example, when a man named Simeon plans to rob a bank it doesn’t matter what kind of a weapon he has, whether a homemade gun or a T-56. What’s important is to find him before he commits the crime and arrest him. That is why whenever the locations of Saharan were mentioned, we always said his name. We planned to arrest the Master Mind. Around 10,000 people in this country were aware of this information by the 11th of April,” Jayawardena said.

The Court of Appeal Judge of the Presidential Commission inquired noting that the witness made a serious allegation asked Nilantha Jayawardene whether he made the claim that 10,000 people knew about the attack with responsibility.

“Yes your honor, the IGP told this commission that he had given this intelligence to four ranges. There are about 8,000 officers in the Western Province. There are over 5,000 in the Police Special Task Force (STF) here. The Diplomatic Missions were aware of it by the 20th of April. Because I was asked by one of the embassies involved in this information, 'Isn't this what we sent to share?' So Lord how much then. Saharan must have known too. It had been referred to 225 members of Parliament although they say they didn’t know. But their security details knew. By my count not 10,000, about 15,000 knew about it. All of them were aware, but the decision makers of this country say they were not privy to this information.”

The former SIS director said with regard to the deaths of the people in this country, he will take responsibility only for events up until the 07th of April 2019.

“We were the ones who gave all the information about Saharan to that foreign intelligence service. Since more than me, it was my officers gathered all the intel, I briefed the Foreign Intelligence Service along with my officers. State Intelligence Service Director became a translator at that moment. In Sri Lanka, what comes from overseas is regarded as something important. If we say something, it is disregarded. We raised the red flag about Zaharan since 2016,” Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardene said.

 

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