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Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Sri Lanka’s Suresh Sallay complicit in Easter bombings: report

BLAST EFFECT: Easter Sunday blasts by Islamist extremists generated widespread sympathy in the West giving Sri Lanka breathing space to follow better policy – if it wants to.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s current intelligence chief, Suresh Sallay, was complicit in the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 279 people, including 45 foreign nationals, a British newspaper claimed Monday.

Major General Suresh Sallay hatched the plot while working for the directorate of military intelligence and with the objective of creating instability to clear the way for Rajapaksas to return to power.

The Times newspaper said Sally was involved with the Easter Sunday bombers to destabilise the country.

The paper was quoting from an interview with an insider to be aired on Tuesday on Britain’s Channel 4, in which an interviewee claims the deadly bombings were orchestrated by Sri Lanka’s military intelligence.

Sallay was promoted as head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) no sooner Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to power in November 2019. He was given a one-year service extension by President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently.

Islamic extremists set off suicide bombings at two Catholic churches, a Christian church and three hotels. The attacks were later claimed by the Islamic State group.

The insider identified as Azad Maulana, a former top aide of chief minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, had spoken of Sallay planning the attacks for about three years.

“Suresh Salley came to me and told me the Rajapaksas need an unsafe situation in Sri Lanka, that’s the only way for Gotabaya to become president,” Maulana was quoted as saying.

“The attack was not a plan made in just one or two days, the plan was two, three years in the making.”

There was no immediate response from the Sri Lankan government or the SIS.

Maulana fled Sri Lanka last year fearing for his life and has sought asylum in Europe.

RelatedSri Lanka President is not mastermind of Easter attack: Secretary

Sri Lankan authorities failed to act on warnings issued by an intelligence agency in neighbouring India 17 days before the coordinated suicide bombings, according to several investigations into the attacks.

Accusations of the involvement of Sri Lankan intelligence operatives, has already been reported to courts. However, this is the first time Sallay is directly accused of plotting the attacks.

The Sunday Times said in a letter to Channel 4, Salley called the allegations “outright false”
and denied any contact with the individuals who were in the video report.

He was not in Sri Lanka on the dates the alleged contact with the bombers and had no connection with the bombers.

Sallay had previously threatened to sue a Catholic priest who had implied that the military intelligence unit headed by him at the time was responsible.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church urged the United Nations in March last year to investigate the Easter Sunday bombings calling it a “political plot”.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith demanded a mechanism to probe the attacks, which the authorities have blamed on local Islamist radicals.

“The first impression of this massacre was that it was purely the work of a few Islamic extremists,” Ranjith said.

“However, subsequent investigations indicate that this massacre was part of a grand political plot.”

The Church has previously suggested that the attacks helped Gotabaya Rajapaksa win the presidential elections in November the same year.

Rajapaksa went against tradition by appointing Sallay to head the SIS, a position previously held by a senior police officer.

Rajapaksa was ousted from power in 2022, initially fleeing to Singapore and Thailand, but has since returned under tight security. Sallay remains the head of the intelligence service. (COLOMBO, Sept 4/2023)

Comments (2)

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  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Cat is out of the bag at last. The interesting thing is it took all this time (3 years).

  2. Shiran Mendis says:

    Round & round the Mulberry Bush!!

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Comments (2)

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Cat is out of the bag at last. The interesting thing is it took all this time (3 years).

  2. Shiran Mendis says:

    Round & round the Mulberry Bush!!

UAE investors express interest in Sri Lanka’s energy, tourism, ports, real estate: Ali Sabry

ECONOMYNEXT – A group of investors based in the United Arab Emirates have expressed their interest in renewable energy, tourism, ports, and real estates, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry told Economy Next.

A Sri Lankan delegation led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe is in Dubai to take part in the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

Sabry said a group of large investors met the President on Friday and discussed possible opportunities in Sri Lanka.

“We met big investors here particularly on renewable energy, tourism, port development and also infrastructure development and real estate. That’s where they are doing very well,” Foreign Minister told Economy Next.

“Our embassy will organize a higher-level business delegation to visit Sri Lanka to look at the available opportunities.”

“There is a lot of traction and interest in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka has been exploring to attract investors to crisis hit Sri Lanka which declared bankruptcy in April last year with sovereign debt default.

Since then, most investors have taken a step back from investing in the island nation due to its inability to serve debts and uncertainty over such investments.

Several government officials said investors may start pouring dollars into Sri Lanka very carefully after they see some certainty of debt repayments. (Dubai/Dec 3/2023)

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Sri Lanka to push for green initiative investment “after OCC finalizing” debt deals – President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will push for investment into green initiatives globally after the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) finalizing on the island nation’s debt restructuring, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Economy Next at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

President Wickremesinghe along with local and global advisors has inaugurated three ambitious projects to convert climate change-led disaster funding, which is mostly seen as donations, into viable commercial enterprises involving private sector investments.

The idea is to rally all the global nations in the Tropical Belt threatened by disasters related to climate change and bargain collectively with advanced economies which emit more greenhouse gases into the environment resulting in global warming for more green initiatives like renewable energy projects.

Wickremesinghe initiated a Climate Justice Forum (CJF), Tropical Belt Initiative (TBI), and called on the world to help establish the International Climate Change University in Sri Lanka.

His moves have been welcomed by global leaders, though analysts said an initiative like TBI is a “bold and imaginary” step.

“This is the first step. We have now put forward the proposal,” Wickremesinghe told Economy Next on Sunday on the sideline of the COP28 in Dubai’s EXPO 2020.

“There is an interest. We have to wait for OCC finalizing (debt restructuring) before pushing for investments.”


Global investors are hesitant to invest in Sri Lanka due to its bankruptcy and sovereign debt default.

Sri Lanka is still recovering from an unprecedented economic crisis which has compelled the island nation to declare bankruptcy with sovereign debt default.

President Wickremesinhe during a forum on Saturday said his initiatives would help government in advanced countries not to use tax money of its own people for climate related disasters in other countries and instead, private sector investors could help by investing in renewable energy initiatives.

President Wickremesinghe’s government has been in the process of implementing some tough policies it committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilize the country and ensure sustainability in its borrowing.

Sri Lanka is yet to finalize the debt restructuring fully as it still has to negotiate on repayment schedule of commercial and sovereign bond borrowing.

The OCC and Sri Lanka had agreed on the main parameters of a debt treatment consistent with those of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement between Sri Lanka and the IMF.

The members of the Paris Club which are part of the Official Creditor Committee are representatives of countries with eligible claims on Sri Lanka: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.

The OCC has said it was expecting other bilateral creditors to consent to sharing, in a transparent manner, the information necessary for the OCC to evaluate comparability of treatment regarding their own bilateral agreement.

The OCC also has said it expects that the Sri Lankan authorities will continue to engage with their private creditors to find as soon as possible an agreement on terms at least as favourable as the terms offered by the OCC. (DUBAI/Dec 3/2023)

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Sri Lanka alcohol regulations may be spurring moonshine: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s alcohol regulations may be reducing access to legal products and driving illegal moonshine sector, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said amid plans to change opening times of retail outlets.

Sri Lanka is currently discussing changing the opening times of bars (retail alcohol outlets), he said.

Sri Lanka’s excise laws may be contributing to the growth of illegal products, Minister Siyambalapitiya was quoted as saying at the annual meeting of Sri Lanka’s excise officers.

Over 20 years legal alcohol sales have grown 50 percent but illegal products are estimated to have grown 500 percent, he said.

It is not clear where the 500 percent estimate came from.

In Kandy there was a bar for every 6,000 persons but in Mullativu there was one for only 990,000 persons and people had to travel 80 kilometres to get to a legal outlet, Minister Siyambalapitiya had said.

However Sri Lanka has a widespread moonshine or ‘kasippu’ industry driven by high taxes on legal products.

The widely used ‘gal’ or special arrack is now around 3,500 rupees and may go up further with a hike in value added tax. About 2000 rupees of the sale price is taxes.

After a currency collapse and tax hikes legal alcohol sales have fallen, leading to local sugar companies burying ethanol, according to statements made in parliament.

An uneven distribution of bars may also be driving people towards alcohol.

Alcohol sales is controlled on the grounds that it is an addictive product which can lead to poverty, ill-health, bad behaviour and criminal activities, though advocates of high taxes ignore the poverty angle.

High taxes are promoted by temperance movements some of whom have called for outright prohibition in the last century.

Temperance movements spread among evangelical groups in the West and were also embraced by nationalists/moralists and independence movements in colonial authorities.

Prohibition in the US however led to more criminal activity as an organized crime took to bootlegging. (Colombo/Dec03/2023)

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