Fresh investigations will be conducted by a Special Unit established under the purview of the new Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) over the release of Riyaj Bathiudeen, Minister Chamal Rajapaksa informed Parliament today.
Minister Rajapaksa said MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother Riyaj was released recently because it was confirmed by the CID that there were no direct links to terrorism.
The decision to release Riyaj Bathiudeen is a procedure undertaken by the Department of Police and has no political involvement, he explained.
“Riyaj Bathiudeen was initially arrested on suspicion of having links with the Easter Sunday bomber who targeted the Taj hotel. He was later detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for three days and interrogated. Riyad was further detained under the PTA for 06 months. However, investigations concluded that he had no direct links to the Easter Sunday attacks and was released,’ Minister Chamal Rajapaksa elaborated.
Minister Rajapaksa went on to say that investigations were conducted on 17 phone calls linking Riyaj, and it was revealed that all phone calls were made to a Ministry phone line and the last call was made three months prior to the terror attacks. The CID concluded that none of the phone calls proved direct links to the Easter Sunday terror attackers.
However, investigations are continuing in this regard by the CID despite Riyaj Bathiudeen being released and there is a possibility for other individuals to be arrested in the future, he said.
Minister Chamal Rajapaksa made the statement in response to a question raised by MP Chaminda Wijesiri on the conduct of the Police with regard to the arrest and release of Riyad Bathiudeen.
MP Wijesiri pointed out that the Police Spokesman had initially announced to the media that Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested on charges of transporting explosives for one of the Easter Sunday terror attackers, but after the conclusion of investigations had revealed that Riyad was found to have no direct links to terrorism and was hence released.
When questioned by MP Wijesiri if action will be taken on the conduct of the CID and on the Police Spokesman for his statements to the media over the matter, Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said that an investigation is underway in this regard. (Colombo Gazette)