By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) investigating the Easter Sunday terror attacks Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Director SSP Shani Abeysekera yesterday said he believed all those involved in the attacks had either died or been arrested and the issue was “80% over”.
According to SSP Abeysekera, the Police arrested several persons and produced them in court pertaining to Buddha statue vandalism in Mawanella. “During that investigation, we found a telephone number – +94 77 7616 737. We traced that number and arrested four persons in Puttalam on 16 January and also recovered a haul of explosives including C4 and detonators, compasses and many other items used for terror activities. These suspects had been led by a person by the name of Zahran. We continually investigated Zahran and tried to trace him. We visited several areas including Kurunegala, Mawanella, Hettipola, Kandy,” he said.
SSP Abeysekera explaining the technology used by the terrorists said: “We found that they used an application by the name of THRIMA which is helpful for them to erase the phone details automatically. Of the four we had arrested at Puttalam, we released two of them after 90 days under a conditional order. We released them because we had no evidence against them. One of the conditions against them is that they should report to CID every last Saturday of the month.
“MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, however, stated that we made a mistake and those two exploded themselves at Shangri-La and tried to find fault with us. But after the Easter Sunday incidents, the two released persons reported twice in last Saturdays of May and June. This month too they will come there.” “As far we know all those who involved in the Easter Sunday attacks are either dead or under our custody. The problem is around 80% over. If they had the opportunity to use the stock of explosives we found in Puttalam there could have been 30-40 similar attacks carried out,” he added.
Setting records straight with regards to the attack on Taj that never took place, SSP Abeysekera said: “We checked the video footage taken from the Taj Hotel four times. The footage showed that the suicide bomber himself attempted twice to explode but the bomb did not explode. So he left the place and went to his room in Dehiwala and tried to fix it or examined to find what had gone wrong. It was at that time the bomb went off.”