ECONOMYNEXT – There is clear evidence of a grand conspiracy linked to Sri Lanka’s 2019 Easter bombings, the privately owned NewsFirst network quoted Attorney General Dappula De Livera as saying today (18).
In an exclusive comment given to NewsFirst, the channel reported, De Livera has said that information by the state intelligence service, “with times, targets, places, method of attack and other information is clear evidence there was a grand conspiracy in place with regard to the April 21 2019 attack.”
The identities of those involved in the grand conspiracy must come by way of evidence, the AG has said, adding that there are multiple suspects connected to the attack including Maulavi (Islamic preacher) Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Naufer, “the person that the Sri Lankan government ruled as the mastermind of the attacks.”
On April 06 this year, Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara said Naufer and one Rasheed Hajjul Akbar, both of whom are in custody, had been identified as the only confirmed masterminds of the attack. The minister told reporters that no other suspect had been identified as having masterminded the attacks and stressed that the government has no intention to hide its findings.
The official account has been contested by opposition lawmakers and others. Main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando in a controversial statement made in parliament on April 20 claimed that the Islamic preacher was never brought before a presidential commission of inquiry that probed the Easter bombings.
In his comment to NewsFirst today, the Attorney General said Naufar is a key figure in the alleged conspiracy.
“It is not possible to confirm if he was the mastermind though he is the leader of the group. The suicide bombers are the people who executed this conspiracy and they’re not among the living,” the network quoted the AG as saying. A considerable number of people who assisted the suicide bombers have been identified detectives, he had added.
“The conspirators of these attacks are at a different level. People like Zaharan Hashim, the leader of the group that carreid out the attacks, would’ve been involved in the conspiracy though he decided to explode himself,” the AG was further quoted as saying.
“For the moment, the investigators have brought evidence of foreign individuals who are connected to the attacks and these people are referred to as others unknown to the prosecution,” he add added, noting it is probable they would never be known.
In a letter written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and a subsequent statement to the public, AG De Livera said last Saturday (15) that he has been unable to press charges or file indictments against the conspirators and abettors of the attack due to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigations being incomplete. The AG’s statement prompted Minister Weerasekara to seek a report from the CID.
“I inquired a report from the CID about the reasons for such a statement at the last moment,” Weerasekara told reporters.
De Livera is expected to retire at the end of this month.
On May 06, he turned down an appointment as High Commissioner to Canada.
The AGs’ Coordinating Officer (CO) State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne was unavailable for comment. (Colombo/May18/2021)