Cinnamon Grand bomber had met Rishad Bathiudeen (video)

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 - 16:35

A former intelligence director confirmed his claim before the presidential commission on Easter Sunday attacks that the brother of former minister Rishad Bathiudeen had aided Zahran Hashim, while evading police warrants, to flee to India by boat.

The commission brought the witness’s attention to a letter by Rifkan Bathiudeen which denies the claim that has been published in the media.

Giving evidence on June 22nd, the ex-director said Rifkan helped Zahran to flee to India following a clash at Kathankudy in March 2017.

However, Rifkan wrote to the commission yesterday denying the accusation and said that although his brother Riyaz was presently under arrest, he had never met Zahran.

When the letter was raised, the ex-intelligence director said there was clear intelligence information on how Rifkan, a member of the
Northern Provincial Council at the time, helped Zahran to flee to India.

He said he brought this to the attention of the then defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando on 22 March 2019.

Another witness who gave evidence yesterday was chief inspector of the CID Y.R. Ravindra, who investigates Inshaf Ahmed, the suicide bomber who targeted Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

He said that Inshaf, a son of leading spice trader Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, had run Colossus, a business producing and exporting copper wires to India.

It got registered at the time the Industrial Development Board was under Rishad Bathiudeen, and the bomber had met the minister to get an exportation matter resolved.

The witness said the IDB that distributes scrap metal among industries had issued 0.5 per cent of scrap metal to other business, while issuing as much as 17 pc and 35 pc in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The Cinnamon Grand bomber had given Rs. 45 million earned from his business to National Thowheed Jamaath organization, he said further.

According to him, the last time money was withdrawn from a relevant bank account was on 10th April 2019.

Meanwhile, the CID has placed before the commission some previously-unseen CCTV footage of Inshaf.

The footage shows that the bomber had gone to several locations, including the Katunayake Airport, on the previous day of the attack.