A Sri Lankan court on Friday named country’s former President Maithripala Sirisena a suspect in the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings case, reported PTI.
Sirisena was the president of Sri Lanka when nine suicide bombers carried out a series of blasts at three churches and several luxury hotels in the country. The attacks had killed 269 persons, including 11 Indians.
While the Islamic State had claimed responsibility, the investigators had blamed the National Thowheed Jamath extremist group for the attacks.
On Friday, a Magistrate Court in Colombo gave the order to accuse Sirisena on charges of neglecting intelligence reports on the impending attack leading to the bombings, reported PTI. Sirisena has been ordered to appear before the court on October 14.
The orders came on a complaint filed by Father Cyril Gamini Fernando, a member of the National Catholic Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims, reported The Hindu.
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has alleged that the attacks had a political motive. Last year in a letter to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was the president of Sri Lanka at the time, the Catholic Church had sought legal action against Sirisena for negligence.
In February 2021, a presidential commission of inquiry had recommended that Sirisena and his intelligence chiefs be prosecuted for their failure to prevent the attacks, despite receiving an intelligence input from India, according to Al Jazeera.
In June 2019 a Parliamentary Select Committee, led by allies of Sirisena’s rival Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the prime minister of Sri Lanka at the time, had investigated the attacks. During the inquiry, Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara had told parliament that Sirisena had asked him to take the blame for the bombings by resigning, and lured him with a diplomatic posting in return, reported Reuters.
On July 18, Wickremesinghe who is now the president of Sri Lanka, said that due to the incomplete investigation into the Easter Sunday attacks he has requested the assistance of the British Government and their intelligence services.