Police had not received any information that Zahran was involved in terrorist activities other than some clashes with different Islamic sects in Kattankudy, Eastern Province Senior DIG Kapila Jayasekara said yesterday.
Testifying before the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe the Easter Sunday attacks, he said Zahran was only a suspect who had been issued with an open warrant in connection with a case involving an Islamic sect.
“We did not pay special attention to Zahran. He was only a suspect who had a warrant pending against him. There were 48 suspects in the Eastern Province with warrants against them. My duty is to take steps to arrest all the suspects in the terror attacks,” he said responding to a question raised by MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.
The DIG said he had not received any information about Zahran’s terrorist activities and added that there was no tension in the Eastern Province at the time.
He said after Zahran fled Kattankudy in March 2017, there was no intelligence linking him with terrorist activities.
MP Fonseka then asked the DIG whether he admitted to the fact that there had been a failure in the intelligence services which had allowed Zahran to operate. The DIG replied saying it was not a failure of the intelligence services but a miscommunication.
Responding to a question raised by Committee Chairman Ananda Kumarasiri, the DIG revealed that he had not been informed by the IGP on a possible attack on April 21, whereas the IGP had informed several DIGs including the Western Province DIG and Traffic DIG.
The Chairman asked why the Senior DIG of the Eastern Province was not informed even though logically he should have been first on the list of those who were informed of a possible attack by the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) as Zahran’s group was based in the Eastern Province.
The DIG reiterated that he had not been informed of such an attack and assured the committee that he could have acted upon the information if that were so. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)