The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had used Army Mohideen and Zahran's brother-in-law Anzar as informants before the attacks without arresting them, retired IP attached to the CID Dias Padmasiri who conducted investigation into discovering Zahran's extremists practices, yesterday informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks.
On December 26, 2018, under the instructions given by ASP Wickramasekara, Padmasiri had started an inquiry into vandalizing Buddha statues in Mawanella, along with a team attached to the CID.
Continuing the investigation, Padmasiri and the team travelled to Wanathawilluwa, Punanai, Kekunagolla and Pasikuda which were known as places where Zahran's associates lived, to conduct the search operations.
Testifying before the Commission, Padmasiri admitted that the CID did not arrest Army Mohideen, a key member of Zahran's team, although State Intelligence Service (SIS) had provided his whereabouts in March 2019.
Responding to several questions made by the Commissioners as to confirm whether the CID had actually used these key individuals, Army Mohideen and Anzar as informants, witness said that he had informed the use of these persons as informants to the senior officials attached to the CID.
"I had informed about using these individuals as informants to ASP Wickramasekara and IP Marasinghe of CID, who had provided me the instructions to lead the inquiry," witness informed the Commission.
Commissioners questioned Padmasiri on what basis he had decided that Army Mohideen and Anzar were reliable informants to gather information about Zahran.
Responding to the question, witness said that Zahran's investigation was a comprehensive one, so the CID had decided to use these individuals as informants.
Padmasiri added that he had been instructed by senior officials to contact SIS officials in the Pasikudah area. SIS officials had given him information that Mohideen was providing military training for Zahran's team on a plot of land in the Pasikudah area and weapons had been stockpiled on the plot.
"It was reported that Mohideen was staying in a house on a land near the beach in Pasikudah. So we went to that house. There was an elderly couple. They told us that Mohideen was staying in that house and Mohideen returned home about an hour later," the witness said.
The members of the commission asked the witness whether the Mohideen had been questioned there.
In response, he said he had questioned Mohideen based on information provided by the SIS. However, there was nothing suspicious in the land and therefore the suspect was not arrested, Padmasiri added.
He also said that Mohideen had agreed to find information about Zahran and hand it over to the CID. “We gave him the contact numbers of Sergeant Nandalal and mine to call when needed. But I do not remember him giving any information about Zahran,” he said.
However, it was also revealed to the Commission that in 2017 the Kattankudy Police had obtained a warrant to arrest Army Mohideen but CID had failed to arrest him on the spot. (Yoshitha Perera)