The release of two of the four suspects who were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for keeping explosives in possession at Lacktowatta in the Wanathawilluwa area in January, 2019, was a mistake, OIC of the Special Investigation Unit at the CID Janaka Marasinghe said.
Mr. Marasinghe, who led investigations into vandalizing the Buddha statues at Mawanella, admitted it before the Presidential Commission probing Easter Sunday attacks today.
The witness said that there was pressure from then CID Director Shani Abeysekara and other senior officials who had pressurized him to conclude the investigation related to these two suspects immediately. The Attorney General's Department representative who led the evidence pointed out that the report provided by the witness on the two suspects, Nafreed and Navith to former President Maithripala Sirisena, not to extend the detention order of the two persons, stated that there was no evidence against them.
Earlier, testifying before the Commission, Special Task Force (STF) officers who searched the camp said that during their inspection they found a locally made 12 bore shotgun and an air rifle, from the building where the two release suspects were occupying. However, during the testimony, CID’s OIC Janka Marasinghe said that he was not aware of such findings from the raided site. "I was not aware of this. The STF officers didn’t tell me about these findings. I thought the weapons were found at the first house we searched at the raided site," Marasinghe said. Testifying before the Commission STF officer IP Suresh Priyankara said that the suspects who were arrested at the Wanathawilluwa jihadist training camp on January 2019 said that they are planning to turn Sri Lanka into a pool of blood before 2020.
In January, 2019 the CID had arrested four suspects for possessing nearly 100 kilograms of explosives and detonators at Lacktowatta in Wanathawilluwa, Puttalam.
In the Commission it was also revealed that the explosives, detonators and several other equipment, which were buried, were recovered at a land on this Wanathawilluwa camping site. The CID also recovered 20 liters of nitrate acid, wire codes, two firearms, a stock of ammunition, a computer, a camera and a stock of dry food.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Commission, Supreme Court Judge Janak de Silva yesterday ordered acting IGP, C. D. Wickramaratne to investigate whether CID’s OIC Janaka Marasinghe, who led the police team that raided the Wanathawilluwa jihadist training camp, is facing a threat from Islamic extremists and submit a report within a week.(Yoshitha Perera)