Wednesday, June 26, 2019

‘Rishad did not influence me’

The Leader of ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen did not influence or ever forced the Commander of Sri Lanka Army to release any detained individual detained on suspicion to links with April 21 bombings.
“I also am acquainted with Minister Bathiudeen. In my capacity as the Army Commander, I known many Parliamentary MPs and Ministers” said the Commander of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake on 26 June. Testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee, he also added that Bathiudeen MP never influenced or forced him.
“After the April 21 bombings, as the Commander of Army, had deployed the Army on security duties. Based on the instructions I received and on the authority I have, I conducted searches and roundups” said Commander of Sri Lanka Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and added: “While doing these on 26 April, we arrested a person called Ishan Ahmed from Dehiwela area. Thereafter Minister Rishad Bathiudeen phoned me on the same day or perhaps the following day. My phone number is known by all. I also am acquainted with Minister Bathiudeen. In my capacity as the Army Commander, I known many Parliamentary MPs and Ministers. Therefore they call me individually. Not only on the April 21 bombings but even on other occasions. That particular day Minister Bathiudeen phoned me and asked me whether a person by the name Ishan Ahmed “was arrested.” I responded to him saying that at that moment I was not able to verify it since searches were being done all across the country, adding that “I will check it up and inform you.” He called me for the second time later and I responded that I was still looking for an arrested individual by that name and cannot confirm this “at that time.” I then proceeded to inquire from the Army intelligence units who were performing their duties in Colombo as to whether a person by that name was taken in. They confirmed me that a person by that name was arrested and in their custody. Minister Bathiudeen called me again in the evening and I replied to him that such a person was in custody. “You should be telephoning me after one and a half years really” I answered Minister Bathiudeen in a very cordial manner. It was a very friendly chat. My intention was, as per the authority and powers vested in me I am supposed to hand over any individual arrested by the Army to the Police within 24 hours of such arrest. After such individuals are gone from Army custody to the Police’, they could be detained for one and a half years thereafter with the Police. This was what I meant when I told Minister Bathiudeen that he should be “telephoning me after one and a half years.” Bathiudeen never influenced or ever forced me on this. He inquired me about details on an arrested person, which at certain occasions I also explained as ‘he made a request.’ Minister Bathiudeen said that the arrested person was a son of an official who worked with him. “Therefore please look into this as to what could be done” Minister Bathiudeen said. But neither Minister Bathiudeen nor any other Minister had ever forced me to arrest or discharge anyone.”
ACMC Leader Bathiudeen MP is now scheduled to testify before the PSC on 28 June.

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