Bathiudeen’s brother aided Zaharan’s escape

Mahesh Senanayake

The Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), in 2018, informed a weekly Intelligence review meeting that National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) Leader Zaharan Hashim had fled to India by boat with the support of MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother, said former Army Commander, General Mahesh Senanayake.

General Senanayake, who is currently residing in the United Arab Emirates, on 7 October, testified before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the bombings on 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, via the Internet.

Responding to a question by a State Counsel as to when he as the Army Commander became aware of Zaharan, General Senanayake said he came to know about Zaharan when he served as the Security Forces Commander in Jaffna.

Adding that the DMI had informed him of Zaharan when he was serving in Jaffna, the witness said the DMI had the capacity to find more details about him, but that the institutions through which investigations into this were conducted, did not obtain the DMI’s support.

He also said senior officials including former Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) of the CID Ravi Seneviratne, Deputy Inspector General of Police of the Terrorist Investigation Division Waruna Jayasundara, State Intelligence Service Director, SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena and the former Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis did not pay enough attention on the Intelligence information shared by the DMI.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Buddhika Samaraweera)