The Intelligence reports revealed that Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen, the controversial doctor attached to the Kurunegala Hospital who was accused of performing sterilization operations had received funds from National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) organisation, former DIG in charge of Kurunegala District Kithsiri Jayalath on Thursday informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks.
Testifying before the Commission former DIG Jayalath said that Islamic extremists were powerful in the Kurunegala District and 226 suspects were arrested on charges of conducting extremist practices from the district after the Easter Sunday coordinated terror attack.
He said that information was published on media to arrest the suspects related to the Easter attack and the Police were able to arrest six suspects immediately after the attack.
“I received nearly 45 important intelligence reports and according to those reports I had taken measures to arrest a vital suspect. After the arrest of that suspect, I was pressured on social media as well as in various ways. Due to those pressures, I was transferred to Puttalam,” he said.
Commissioner: “Who is that particular suspect?”
Former DIG Jayalath: “The special suspect was Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen”
Commissioner: “Did that doctor have any political connections?”
Former DIG Jayalath: “Yes, it has been revealed that the doctor was associated with former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. According to those links I had received instructions to investigate and arrest the suspect. However, after arresting the suspect I was transferred.”
Then Commissioners further questioned the witness whether Zahran Hashim’s wife’s village, Kekunagolla in the Kurunegala district was under the witness’s supervision.
Responding to the question former DIG Jayalath said that he was aware of Zahran’s connection to the Kurunegala area after the Easter Sunday terror attack.
He further added that neither the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) nor the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed about the investigations they carried out in Kekunagolla area prior to the attacks.
He said that these actions taken by the several officers attached to the investigation units had been the cause of the unrest situation which occurred within the area after the April 21 attacks.(Yoshitha Perera)