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1-min read

Arrested Over 'Inaction' on Inputs to Easter Day Attacks, Sri Lanka Former Police Chief, Defence Secretary Get Bail

They were arrested last week after Attorney General Dappula de Livera instructed the authorities to charge them for their failure to prevent the blasts on April 21 that claimed 258 lives.

PTI

Updated:July 9, 2019, 6:01 PM IST
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Arrested Over 'Inaction' on Inputs to Easter Day Attacks, Sri Lanka Former Police Chief, Defence Secretary Get Bail
Image for representation. (Image: REUTERS)
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Colombo: In a setback to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, a court here on Tuesday granted bail to former defence secretary and suspended police chief, saying there was no basis for their arrests.

Former defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando and police chief Pujith Jayasundera were suspended by President Sirisena for their alleged inaction on the intelligence shared by India, which warned of an impending attack by Islamic militants, and thereby, failing to prevent the Easter attacks.

They were arrested last week after Attorney General Dappula de Livera instructed the authorities to charge them for their failure to prevent the blasts on April 21 that claimed 258 lives.

Delivering a lengthy order, Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne said that the judiciary was not obliged to keep people in jail to please the wishes of the police or anyone else.

Jayaratne ruled that there was no sufficient facts against the suspects to constitute a murder charge.

Fernando and Jayasundera were released on one surety bail of Rs 500,000 for each.

The Chief Magistrate said the commission of inquiry appointed by President Sirisena was not a sufficient ground to arrest and detain the two officials.

She regretted that not even a statement had been recorded from Jayasundera and Fernando before their detention.

President Sirisena had appointed a three-member panel to probe the negligence by the top officials despite the availability of intelligence inputs on the impending attacks.

Both Jayasundera and Fernando have testified before an ongoing parliamentary probe panel on the attacks. Both of them claimed that there was discounting of the seriousness of the threat at the very highest level. Sirisena is the minister-in-charge of defence.

The eight coordinated suicide attacks were carried out by local Jihadi group National Thowheed Jammath (NTJ) linked to the ISIS.

President Sirisena has slammed the parliamentary probe as one to pin blame on him and accused Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of being the mover behind the panel.

The opposition blames the government's inability to prevent the suicide bombings due to the ongoing power struggle between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe has said that he had been excluded from attending the national security council by Sirisena since October last year.

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