In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother Riyaj Bathiudeen, said his release by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was due to the CID being satisfied there was no evidence to warrant continued detention, and in accordance with a ruling issued by a Colombo Fort Magistrate.
The letter, which was issued to media by Riyaj Bathiudeen, said he was arrested on 14 April by the CID at his residence in Puttalam on the allegation that he had engaged in telephone conversations with Inshaf Ahamed.
“I was thereafter held in detention and intense investigations were carried out by the CID for a period of nearly five and a half months. The CID concluded that there was no material whatsoever to link me to any terrorist activity. It was established that my acquaintance with Inshaf Ahamed was perfectly consistent with my innocence, in as much as his father Mohammad Ibrahim was at the material time a leading businessman and the President of the Colombo Traders Association. Likewise my acquaintance with Inshaf Ahamed was also natural and explainable as he was married to the daughter of a prominent businessman from Mannar from where I hail.”
The letter went onto say that Riyaj Bathiudeen was released after CID explored all avenues.
“After being thoroughly satisfied of my innocence the CID released me from custody on 29 September. There is nothing sinister as is suggested by interested parties in the fact that the CID released me from custody without producing me before the Magistrate. Indeed the learned Magistrate had previously made an order that the persons held in custody pending investigations could be released by the CID on the CID being satisfied that there was no evidence to warrant their continued detention.”
The letter included a copy of the ruling but the name of the magistrate was indistinguishable in the copy of the letter released to media.
Riyaj Bathiudeen concludes the letter by pointing out that “certain persons with vested interests, both of a political and racist nature, have endeavoured to portray the conduct of the CID as suspicious and to vilify me as a terrorist without any basis whatsoever.”
“I also wish to bring to the notice of Your Excellency that four of the seven persons who were arrested on the same date as myself, on similar allegations, were released well before my release on the footing that there was no incriminating evidence against them. I wish to humbly submit that the demands for my re-arrest have been orchestrated due to political and communal reasons. I’m confident Your Excellency will not be influenced by such extraneous considerations,” the letter concluded.