By Yoshitha Perera
Some MPs and ministers had instructed their security officers not to reveal that they had been informed about a possible terror attack by a group connected to National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ), retired DIG Lucien Priyalal yesterday informed the PCoI on the Easter Sunday attacks.
He also informed the PCoI that when he was serving as the DIG at the Special Protection Range (SPR) that IGP Pujith Jayasundara had sent him a letter warning him about a possible terror attack.
“On April 10, 2019, the IGP, who is currently on compulsory leave sent me a copy of the letter he had received from the then National Intelligence (CNI) Chief Sisira Mendis,” the witness said.
Witness said the letter mentioned that there could be a possible terror attack carried out by a group associated with NTJ leader Zahran Hashim, targeting well-known Catholic Churches and the Indian High Commission. “The letter also mentioned of four potential ways of conducting the attack and the names of the six suspects involved,” the witness said.
Retired DIG Priyalal said after receiving the warning letter he had prepared another letter including necessary security instructions and sent it to the five directors attached to his division.
He said during that particular period Ministerial Security Division (MSD), the Judicial Security Division (JSD), the Diplomatic Security Division (DSD), the Security Divisions of former Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa were under his supervision.
“The directors of the five divisions were instructed to warn the security officers under them about the possible attack and to strengthen the VIPs security,” the witness said and added that former MP Harin Fernando’s father may have come to know about the possible attack from the information sent to his security officials.
The commissioners then questioned the witness about the warning letter and the measures taken to strengthen the security of the Indian High Commission. The witness informed the PCoI that his division had deployed six additional police officers to the Indian High Commission.
They also questioned the witness on how the letter he sent to the directors of the divisions came to be circulated through the media. Witness responded that he was unaware of how it happened.