Former IGP Pujith Jayasundara was not summoned to the National Security Council (NSC) meetings by former President Maithripala Sirisena until the Easter Sunday terror attack, on an issue regarding the transfer of former Chief Inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Nishantha Silva.
Explaining the following incident, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said, during a meeting at the National Security Council (NSC), then Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) complained against an officer of the CID alleging that an officer was attempting to arrest him arbitrarily.
"The former President then told IGP Pujith Jayasundara to remove Nishantha Silva. Accordingly, former IGP transferred the former CIP to the Negombo Police station and informed the Police Commission of the procedure to be followed," Mr. Fernando informed the Commission.
Mr. Fernando added that three days later the former President called him and enquired who transferred former CIP Nishantha Silva to the Negombo police station.
"I told the former President, Sir you were the one who instructed IGP Pujith Jayasundara at the last NSC meeting, to transfer former CIP Nishantha Silva. He got very annoyed, said 'I never gave such instructions' and, disconnected the call," he said.
Mr. Fernando added that a few days after the above incident he went to meet the former President and was told former IGP Pujith Jayasundara had used reference from last NSC meeting without any permission, when preparing the transfer report of former IP Nishantha Silva and submitted it to the Police Commission.
"Then I was told not to invite former IGP Pujith Jayasundara to any future NSC meeting and I informed this to the former IGP," he said.
Representative from the Attorney General's (AG) Department then questioned the witness regarding the foreign intelligence information received through former Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) Sisira Mendis on April 8 last year.
"April 8 was a very busy day for the Ministry of Defence in Sri Lanka. The Indian Defence Secretary was in our country. Bilateral agreements were signed that morning. There were special meetings during the day and night. Meanwhile, Mr. Sisira Mendis brought this information. I saw some uncertainty in this information. I did not tell Sisira that. I said 'tell Nilantha to put this in the NSC meeting tomorrow'. I also said that this is important information," Mr. Fernando said.
However, it was informed to the Commission that the above letter was not discussed at the NSC meeting which held on April 9, 2019.
Hemasiri: I thought I would discuss it but later and I waited for Nilantha (SIS Director) to discuss it. He also didn't discuss it.
Representative from AG's Department: Mr. Nilantha Jayawardena does not have the telepathy to know that you must have thought so. Shouldn't you have discussed it?
Hemasiri: No, it's Nilantha's information, he should have discussed it. Both, CNI and SIS did not want to dig into such information during the NSC meeting. Earlier, in March, I also received a complaint from former Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake that the SIS was not sharing information with them. There were several problems.
Former President Maithripala Sirisena was not concerned about inviting Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as the Prime Minister during the 52-day government, to the National Security Council (NSC) meetings in November and December 2018.
Testifying before the Commission, Mr. Fernando said that he had asked President Sirisena whether he should invite Mahinda Rajapaksa to the NSC meeting on November 13 as Prime Minister was a member of NSC.
"Former President Sirisena said no need of inviting him now, let's see in the future," Mr. Fernando said.
Accordingly, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was not invited to the December 03, 2018 NSC meeting as well. (Yoshitha Perera)