Called Army Chief only to inquire whereabouts of arrested - Rishard | Daily News

Called Army Chief only to inquire whereabouts of arrested - Rishard

Parliamentarian Rishard Bathiudeen yesterday re-assured that he contacted then Army Commander General Mahesh Senanayake three times over the telephone just to inquire the whereabouts of a suspect arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday Attacks and not to make any impact over the arrest.

Bathiudeen who is in remand custody was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Probing the Easter Sunday Attacks via Skype Technology yesterday.

Subsequent to the deadly attacks, the Army had arrested a suspect called Muhinuddin Ihsan Ahmed, a resident of Dehiwala and then Minister Bathiudeen had contacted the Army Commander to inquire about this suspect.

He refused claims that he requested the Army Chief to release this suspect arrested by them.

“The father of Ihsan Ahmed was a distinguished officer in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service. I only asked whether Ihsan was alive or not at his father’s request,” he said.

According to Bathiudeen, he had first spoken to the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Dehiwala Police and also to a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) next for the same reason. When they were not aware about such an arrest, he had contacted the Army Commander. “Ihsan’s father also said that his son was taken away by a group of masked men. That is why I called General Senanayake and asked if Ihsan was in their custody,” Bathiudeen told the PCoI.

The Commission also inquired the witness regarding alleged misuse of vehicles belonging to Lanka Sathosa for the activities of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) during his tenure as the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

It was revealed yesterday that MP Bathiudeen’s brother Riyaj Bathiudeen and his father -in-law also had served as the Chairperson of the said NGO.

The witness testified that he was not aware of any misuse of such vehicles.However, earlier, it had been revealed before the Commission that a person called Mohamed Aslam who had worked as a project engineer for Sathosa with several outsiders had been to various NGO activities in vehicles belonging to Sathosa between January and March, 2019.

In response the witness said as the then Minister in charge of Industry and Commerce subject, there were forty two institutions under his purview and therefore he was not aware of all the activities done by the officers of those institutions.

Therefore, those who had been assigned to oversee junior officers’ activities should be punished if they have committed any irregularities. “It is not fair to question me on such matters at length”, he added.

Meanwhile, when the Commission questioned him whether he had attested the marriage of Mohamed Ibrahim Insaf Ahmed, who carried out the suicide bombing at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, the witness said he did but, only at the request of Insaf’s father-in-law.