Church questions releasing of Easter bomber’s vehicle to Public Security Minister

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church has sought an explanation from the government after former Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera, admitted, in Parliament, yesterday (19), that his security contingent used a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, which had belonged to Easter Sunday suicide bomber Zahran Hashim.

 The lawmaker said so when Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) National List MP Harin Fernando asked MP Weerasekera to explain the circumstances a court production had been released to him.

 Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando emphasised that police headquarters hadn’t made any reference to the recovery of Zahran’s luxury vehicle in routine statements released to the media, or taken up at the Special Parliamentary Select Committee and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that investigated the Easter Sunday massacres.

 “Therefore, we would like to know the circumstances in which the former minister received the vehicle,”

Rev Fernando said. The Church spokesperson said that it would be important to know whether the vehicle in question had been bought on a duty free permit issued to some influential person.

The Island

 raised the issue at hand with Police Spokesperson SSP Nihal Thalduwa, who said that contrary to claims the vehicle in question bearing Number WP CAS 1411 belonged to another suicide bomber identified as Inshaf Ahmed Ibrahim. Ibrahim carried out the attack on the Cinnamon Grand. His brother Ilham Ibrahim, too, died in the attack on Shangrila carried out along with Zahran.

SSP Thalduwa said that the vehicle taken into custody by the CID had been confiscated through the issuance of a special gazette No 2133/3 on 2019.05.13 and subsequently released to the Special Task Force (STF).

A statement issued by the police headquarters in this regard did not make reference to accusations directed at the former Public Security Minister.

Rev. Fernando questioned the procedures adopted in releasing such a court production to the police and the vehicle ending up with the minister in charge of the police or assigned to the STF assigned to protect the politician.

Rev Fernando asked whether in addition to V 8 bearing WP 1411 any other confiscated vehicles or property had been released to those in the government and law enforcement.

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