STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

No evidence to confirm Easter attacker's wife fled to India: Lanka police

Chief Inspector Arjuna Maheenkanda told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that the person who assisted her to flee had been arrested.

Published: 23rd July 2020 05:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2020 05:26 PM   |  A+A-

A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. | (File | AP)

By PTI

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police on Thursday said that they have not received any "evidence" to confirm the media reports that the wife of one of the Easter suicide bombers may have fled to India to avoid arrest.

Police spokesman Jaliya Senaratne made the comments while responding to questions on the media reports that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings was told that Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah, the wife of bomber Achchi Mohammdu Mohammadu Hasthun, had fled to India by sea in September last.

"We have detained two people...but we have not received any acceptable evidence that the person had fled the country," Senaratne said.

On April 21, 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500 on the Easter Sunday. Hasthun blew himself up at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo.

Sri Lankan police have arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the bombings.

Chief Inspector Arjuna Maheenkanda told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that the person who assisted her to flee had been arrested.

Maheenkanda said that in October 2019, he was assigned to investigate the attacks carried out by the NTJ.

He told the PCoI that on July 6, 2020, he received a tip-off from an informant that Sarah, who was in the NTJ hideout in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, had escaped and was hiding in Mankadu in the eastern town of Batticaloa.

"When we were in Batticaloa, we met another person who had seen a woman, whom he believed was Sarah. This informant said he had seen a cab parked along Batticaloa-Kalmunai main road, near Beach Road, Mankadu area around 3 AM in September 2019.

"He felt suspicious and slowed down. Then he saw Sarah and two other men walking towards the main road. There was a street light there and that''s how the informant saw them. This informant had lived near Sarah’s house for a long time. He also saw that she got into the back seat of the cab parked near the road," Maheenkenda told the PCoI.

Maheenkanda said that there was information that Sarah had fled to India by boat from the Mannar area. The husband of Sarah''s aunt and his brother had helped her escape.

"One of the suspects is currently in custody. The other person has gone abroad. Investigations have also revealed that a person in the Mannar area helped her flee," the officer said.

The blasts targeted St Anthony''s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian''s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo, and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass was in progress.

Three explosions were reported from three five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury in Colombo. 


Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp