Intelligence outfits warned Defence Secretary, IGP of terror attacks 97 times – Counsel

Pujith Jayasundara and Hemasiri Fernando

President Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena yesterday informed the Supreme Court that intelligence agencies had warned former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara 97 times between 2016 and April 2019, that Islamic extremists of National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), lead by Zharan Hashim were planning to carry out attacks in the country.

Jayawardena said that it had been proven by the affidavits and other documents submitted to the Supreme Court by Director State Intelligence DIG Nilantha Jayawardena.

Counsel Jayawardena told court that according to the 19th Amendment, the Cabinet was also responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks and the blame could not be placed solely on the former Defence Secretary and the IGP.

Jayawardena made his submissions when the court took up the FR petitions submitted claiming that the authorities had failed to avert the Easter Sunday terror strikes.

The bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, Prasanna Jayawardena, L.T.B.Dehideniya and Murdu Fernando.

Attorney-at-law Nuwan Bopage, appearing for a plaintiff, told court that the Catholics in the country had visited the churches on April 21 this year, thinking that the State would protect their fundamental rights and would maintain law and order.

Most amount of money was allocated annually by the budget for defence to ensure public safety/

The President, the Prime Minister, the State Minister of Defence, the Service Commanders and the Cabinet could not absolve themselves of the responsibility by claiming that they had not been informed about the impending threat, Manohara de Silva, PC, said.

Citizen of the country did not have to plead with the authorities to assure tier safety, Silva said. .

Twelve FR petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court naming former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Ferenando, IGP Pujith Jayasundera, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet as respondents were taken up yesterday.

Today, the AG’s Department and the respondents will make their submissions. ,

(Source: The Island – By A.J.A.Abeynayake)