The Cheif Inspector arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) yesterday (13) is being accused of helping Sara, the wife of the Katuwapitiya Church bomber Mohamed Hasthun to escape when the house she and Zahran’s family were holed up in Sainthamurthu on April 26 last year was surrounded by the Police and Security Forces.
The CI, the OIC of the Ampara Police Garage is said to be a resident of Akkaraipattu. The woman he helped has been identified as Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sara.
During previous investigations, it was widely reported that Sara who was born a Tamil had been abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, and then married off to a Muslim man. Following the attacks, her parents also maintained this narrative.
However, a Presidential Commission probing into the Easter Sunday attacks had recently been provided with information that this Policeman had helped Sara escape during the exchange of fire between the terror suspects and the security officials.
At the time the Criminal Investigations Department and other investigators believed that she had been preparing for a second attack. Prior to the Easter Sunday attack, she is believed to have purchased white clothing similar to those worn to Buddhist temples worth Rs. 29 000 from a shop in Giriulla.
On April 26, receiving information about a suspicious group in the area from residents and Military Intelligence the security forces reached the house in Sainthamurthu. However, they were not able to reach the house as the inhabitants had fired at the security forces. Following an exchange of fire, several explosions were heard from the house.
During the inspection, the members of the security forces found 14 bodies inside the house. However, the wife of Zahran Hashim and his daughter managed to survive and were rescued by the Army. The bodies recovered which included that of children were destroyed beyond recognition. They believed those killed were the brothers of Zahran Hashim, their sister, and her husband, Zahran’s father. However, though DNA testing was done on the remains investigators failed to find any remains close to that of the DNA of Sara’s parents. Mystery surrounded as to then what could have happened to Sara who was also at the house when the incident took place.
This was only unraveled a year after when the MI found that she was now in India. A motorcycle had traveled in the vicinity of the house on the day of the attack and it is believed she may have escaped on it. There are also suspicions that Sara had connections to international intelligence agencies and she was a spy working for them in Sri Lanka. Suspicions have also been raised that she remained part of the group to find out details of a second attack.
The information on the Policeman that helped her was revealed to the Commission which investigated the Sainthamaruthu incident. The Commission had then informed the Acting IGP about the information after which the CCD was directed to arrest the CI yesterday (13).
Releasing a statement Police HQ said the CI was arrested after it was revealed that he concealed information relating to the incident. CCD is holding the suspect and carrying out further investigations into the incident.