Sri Lanka’s suspended police chief, ex-Defence Secretary arrested

Sri Lanka police chief Pujith Jayasundara   | Photo Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka’s suspended police chief and former Defence Secretary were on Tuesday arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department for their alleged failure to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings that claimed nearly 260 lives.

The arrest of Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando comes a day after the Attorney-General termed their alleged failure to act on security warnings a “crime against humanity”. “The two officials should be brought before a magistrate for their criminal negligence to prevent the April 21 attacks,” Attorney-General Dappula de Livera told the acting police chief in a letter.

Earlier, the state prosecutor named nine senior police officers as suspects, who needed to be prosecuted for their “role” in the security lapses.

Following the attacks, Mr. Jayasundara was sent on compulsory leave when he refused to take responsibility and step down as ordered by President Maithripala Sirisena. Mr. Fernando resigned.

On Wednesday, both Mr. Jayasundara and Mr. Fernando were undergoing treatment at two different hospitals, when the police arrested them, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.

In June, Mr. Jayasundara and Mr. Fernando testified before a parliamentary panel probing the blasts and pointed to the serious gaps in acting on intelligence.

Confirming that intelligence on a possible attack was available since April 9, they said it was shared among top police and defence officials, on the eve and morning of the bombings.

Meanwhile, addressing an event to mark the National Drug Prevention Week, Mr. Sirisena said: “The hand of international drug dealers is behind the Easter Sunday attacks.”

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 9:54:04 PM |

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