Ex-IGP says he was at his official residence at the time of Easter Sunday attacks

Pujith Jayasundara

The police had not come up with a plan to deal with an impending terrorist attack after the State Intelligence Service (SIS) had received foreign intelligence, on April 04, 2019 that National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim and his associates would carry out an attack, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara on Saturday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks.

Earlier the Additional Solicitor General (ASG,) who led evidence asked the witness if the police had prepared a contingency plan to face emergency situations.

Jayasundara said that there were contingency plans at Police stations, Police divisions and at the national level.

“If the government declares an emergency, the plan is implemented as per the situation. The plan will be implemented through the IGP’s Command Room in Mirihana.”

A commissioner then asked Jayasundara why the plan had not been implemented although the Director of SIS, on 20 April, had informed him that a terrorist attack would take place on 21 April.

“I was at my official residence when I received the information. I took steps to inform the senior DIGs about it.”

“Where were you on the morning of 21 April?” a commissioner asked.

“I was at my official residence,” Jayasundara said.

The commission then asked why Jayasundara had been at his official residence instead of going to the IGP’s Command Room and taking any action.

Jayasundara said that he had instructed the SIS Director to inform the officials concerned about the relevant information.

“I had not been informed that there could be an attack on tourist hotels. Former SIS Director SDIG Jayawardena told me that the information received on 20 April was an update of the information received earlier. He only said there could be a serious incident on 21 April.”ness said.

Chairman of the Commission asked Jayasundara why SDIG Jayawardena and other SDIGs had not been summoned on the night of the 20 April to clarify the relevant information.

“At that time, we could only send officers to the relevant places. There was no time to discuss. Also, even though we were not aware, suicide bombers had also reached their targets by that time,” he said.

The ASG suggested that the Police had not paid enough attention to the information provided by the SIS for many years. The former IGP said that it was not correct.

“We never had a chance to question the information coming from the SIS. Given the political situation at the time, I was not even invited to the National Security Council meetings,” he said.

(Source: The Island – By Rathindra Kuruwita)