Three-member committee on Easter attack recommends
- Says serious lapses by police, officials of defence ministry
By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
The special three-member committee appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to investigate April 21 bombing yesterday said state intelligence services should be made an independent body while it should be governed by legislation.
The committee members said this is one of the recommendations they have made in the final report.
Also the committee members said there have been serious lapses on the part of the police, intelligence units and the officials of defence ministry paving the way for the 21/4 attackers to fulfil its objective.
The members of the presidential committee came up with these information while testifying before the parliamentary select committee probing the Easter Sunday attacks yesterday.
Presidential Committee Chairman Supreme Court Justice Vijith Malalgoda told the Parliamentary Select Committee that the State Intelligence Services (SIS) should not be functioned in a manner similar to other intelligence agencies such as Directorate of Military Intelligence.
Former Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon who was also a member of the committee appointed by the President said there is no proper mechanism to coordinate the intelligence agencies. “We are not against having number of agencies. But the nature of the intelligence agencies should match the requirements of the country. Accordingly, we proposed that the premier intelligence agency should be converted into a body operating under some legal provisions. There have been lapses in intelligence coordination” Former IGP Illangakoon said.
Mr Malalgoda revealed that the reports of Kochcikade Police with regard to the investigations on the attack was manipulated and changed. “We noticed some glaring lapses such as the intelligence report warning of the attack at Kochchikade church had been sent to the area police station which is the Foreshore Police Station only after the attack. In case of Katana police station, the warning had been received on April 13 but the OIC pasted the message on his book only on April 20.
“We cannot recall each and every lapse which we came across but there were serious lapses. We recommended action against the officers responsible” Malalgoda also said.
Also Malalgoda revealed that the warning on the attack have been received on April 5 for the first time but nothing has been done about it. He said the Security Council has not been summoned since that day until the explosions took place. He revealed that information has been received on an impending attack 16 hours before the attack.
Malalgoda said some 60 persons were summoned before the committee. Those who were summoned by them have included Minister Harin Fernando, Minister Mano Ganesan and MP D. M. Swamynathan. “Minister Harin was summoned to seek a clarification on the remarks he made referring to his father” Mr. Malalgoda said.
He said two copies of their report was prepared initially while 10 more was prepared later following an advise of the presidential secretariat. “We got to know that one report has been sent to the Attorney General’s office by the President.
Mr Malalgoda went on to say that the committee headed by him was not appointed under Special Presidential Commissions Act and therefore they had the mandate only to make recommendations.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, other members Feiled Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Professor Ashu Marasinghe, Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Ravi Karunanayake, MPs M. A. Sumanthiran and Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa were present at the proceedings yesterday posting questions to presidential committee members.