Police investigating an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena have found several contradictions in statements an air force deserter who claimed he was contracted by a Deputy Inspector-General for the hit.
Sources close to the investigation said Namal Kumara, the man who held a press conference and made what appeared to be sensational claims, had changed his story many times during the course of questioning by the CID.
Chief among them is the backtracking on who had made the purported recordings of telephone conversations he had with terrorism Investigation Department head Nalaka de Silva.
He had publicly claimed that an underworld figure known as Makandure Madush was to be contracted for the assassination, but told investigators that it was to be done by an Indian national who is now in custody.
It is understood that Indian law enforcement authorities have been contacted to check the credentials of the man in custody.
Namal Kumara had claimed he was aware that a sniper weapon was to be used, but there was no indication of such a firearm in the hands of the Indian in custody.
However, it is reported that the TID had acquired two light machine guns in 2016. They are in proper legal custody.
What has baffled the investigators most is Namal Kumara’s current claim that he did not make the telephone recordings of the purported telephone calls with DIG de Silva.
Despite his claims that he made recordings of conversations in which they discussed the assassination, he has not produced any to the investigators.
Kumara had also claimed that President Sirisena was moving to enter into an electoral pact with former secretary to the defence ministry, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Based on Namal Kumara’s public statements, Rajapaksa loyalists have asked for a bullet-proof car for his use.
The authorities believe that the plot thickens when they consider that Namal Kumara had been in the pay or still continues to be with the Presidential Secretariat where he has been attached to the anti-alcohol task force.
Namal Kumara was quoted in the Sunday Divaina newspaper shortly after his public allegations that he staged a demonstration outside the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy when the finance ministry reduced the price of beer.
He claims he gave up the protest after an official of the Presidential Secretariat assured him that the President will intervene. He had worked as a police informant providing information leading to the arrest of several Sinhala extremist group leaders.
On the face of the allegations, DIG de Silva has been sent on compulsory leave while the investigators closely examine the associates of Namal Kumara.