Kattankudy police failed to arrest Zahran and three other suspects | Sunday Observer
Easter Sunday attacks:

Kattankudy police failed to arrest Zahran and three other suspects

The Kattankudy Police had failed in its duty to arrest terrorist Zahran Hashim and three other suspects prior to the Easter Sunday attacks although it was possible to arrest the group without a warrant. The group included Mohamed Rilwan, the brother of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the Easter Sunday attack. This was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday attack on Friday when the former OIC of the Kattankudy Police appeared before the Commission.

Former OIC of the Kattankudy Police, IP Nishantha Prabath Kasthuriarachchi testified. before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday attack on Friday night (19). IP Kasthuriaracchchi had held the position from August 2017 - January 2020.

According to Kasthuriarachchi, an altercation between National Thowheed Jamatha members to which Zahran belonged and members of the Sunnath Wal Jamath had taken place on March 10, 2017, at the Kattankudy - Alliyar junction.

Kasthuriarchchi told the Commission that the suspects involved in the altercation Zahran Hashim, Rilwan Mohamed, Army Mohamed and Yusuf Anwer who were believed to have used swords, knives and petrol bombs during the fight had fled the area after the incident.

He said that a case on the incident had been already filed at the Batticaloa Magistrate’s Court when he took over as OIC in August 2017.

“However, we were unable to arrest them as they had left the area,” he told the Commission.

The Commission questioned the former OIC, as to why he had not secured an open warrant against the suspects. IP Kasthuriarachchi in his response said that they were not able to obtain an open warrant against the four suspects even till the attack on April 2019 as the Police had not received the government’s analyst report.

On perusing the court records, the Commission asked Kasthuriarachchi if he had any knowledge that the Government analyst report had already been produced in the Batticaloa Magistrate’s court on January 30, 2018, almost a year prior to the attack. Kasthuriaracchi said he had no knowledge and, therefore, did not apply for a warrant.

The Commission gave Kasthuriarachchi a dressing down and pointed out that the Police had enough evidence against the group in the B report submitted to court to make an arrest without waiting for the report by the Government Analyst. The Commission asked the former OIC, if he now admits that the Police had enough evidence to arrest the suspects without a warrant.

The OIC said he now admits it and the Commission questioned him as to why he had provided a statement previously where he said the Police did not have enough evidence to arrest them. Kasthuriarachchi said the previous statement made by him was incorrect.

When questioned as to why the former OIC did not pay attention to the related case being heard in the Batticaloa Magistrate’s Court, the OIC said he did not carry out certain provisions of the law. The Commission also questioned the former OIC whether he now felt he had not carried out his Police duties to the best of his ability, to which IP Kasthuriarachchi did not respond.