By Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perara
Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) Director SSP Waruna Jayasundara said yesterday he had instructed TID officials including the unit established in Kalmunai to arrest National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) Leader Zahran Hashim soon after he received the letter which warned about a possible attack on April 10.
Testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe the Easter Sunday attacks, Jayasundara said he had received the letter sent by the IGP on April 10 marking it as top secret and that he summoned several officers including IP Pathirana, who worked under him and briefed them on the possibility of an attack taking place.
“I informed them that Zahran was a threat and that he could launch an attack and I called for his immediate arrest. IP Pathirana was told to inform the relevant authorities of this by me. I informed the officer attached to the Kalmunai TID unit about the warning I had received and on the need to arrest Zahran,” he said.
He said he acted swiftly after receiving the information on the attack where he wrote to facebook administrators in California on April 10 and Zahran’s account was blocked by April 18.
Responding to a question raised by MP Nalinda Jayatissa as to whether he was not called for the National Security Council (NSC) meeting when it met prior to the April 21 attacks, Jayasundara said he had been asked to take part in the Intelligence Coordination Committee meeting by the IGP on April 9, 2019. The TID Director said the warning about a possible attack was not discussed at this meeting but the extremist activities of Zahran Hashim came up for discussion.
The matter should have been discussed at the meeting on that day because responsible officials including the SIS director, intelligence heads of the tri-forces etc. were present.
Mr. Jayasundara said the security units should be empowered with modern technology to counter a terrorist group using modern technology.
He said there were 32 suspects in TID custody and that all of them should be prosecuted as they were directly or indirectly involved in the attack. “There are around 2, 000 suspects in the custody of the security forces. Those who were not violent but were radicalised should be de-radicalised,” he said.