The Kattankudy Police had failed to arrest Zahran Hashim due to their negligence prior to the Easter Sunday attacks. This fact was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing into the Easter Sunday attack yesterday (20).
Testifying before the Commission Former OIC of the Kattankudy Police, IP Nishantha Prabath Kasthuriarachchi recalled an incident on March 10, 2017 where National Thowheed Jamath members including Zahran Hashim and members of the Sunnath Wal Jamath had attacked each other in Kattankudy. He said the suspects involved in the attack Zahran Hashim, Rilwan Mohamed, Army Mohamed and Yusuf Anwer who was accused of using swords, knives and petrol bombs during the fight had left the area after the incident.
Noting that a case relating to the case was already being heard at the Batticaloa magistrates court when he took over as OIC of the Kattankudy Police in August 2017, he was unable to arrest them as they had fled the area.
However, when the commission questioned the OIC as to why he had not got an open warrant against the suspects, he told the commission that they were not able to secure an open warrant as the Police had not received a necessary government analyst report. The Kattankudy Police had in fact failed to secure a warrant till the attack happened in April 2019
But referring to court records the commission told Kasthuriarachchi that the relevant Government analyst report had already been submitted to the Batticaloa Magistrate on January 30, 2018. Kasthuriarachchi claimed to have not known this.
However, the commission also pointed out that the Police had enough evidence against the suspects in the B-report submitted to courts to make an arrest. The OIC admitted to this. But the commission then questioned him as to why he had provided a statement previously where he said the Police did not have enough evidence to arrest them. Kasthuriaracchi then also admitted that the previous statement made by him was incorrect.
The OIC then admitted he did not put certain provisions into action. When asked if he now felt he had not carried out his duties to the best of his ability, Kasthuriaracchi remained silent.