By Shamindra Ferdinando
Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, in his present capacity as Director, State Intelligence has told Channel 4 Television that he was not in Sri Lanka for the whole of 2018 as he was in Malaysia as Minister Counsellor of the government of Sri Lanka.
Therefore, the accusation that he met several members of the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) including Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran in Karadipuval, Puttalam in Feb. 2018 was baseless, he has said.
The intelligence officer has asked the British television station to verify his claim with the Malaysian authorities. Career diplomat Pakeer Mohideen Amza was the Ambassador in Malaysia at the time (16.01.2016 to 28.06.2019).
Maj. Gen. Sallay has also told Channel 4 that on April 21, 2019, the day of the Easter Sunday blast, he was in India, where he was accommodated at the National Defence College (NDC). That could be verified with the Indian authorities,
Maj. Gen. has said, strongly denying Channel 4’s claim that he contacted one of Pilleyan’s cadre’s over the phone and directed him to pick a person outside Hotel Taj Samudra.
According to Sallay, during his entire assignment in Malaysia from Dec 2016 to Dec 2018, he had been to Colombo only once for one week in Dec 2017 to assist in an official inquiry. Having returned to Colombo, Sallay had left for NDC in late Dec 2018 and returned only after the conclusion of the course in November 2019.Maj. Gen. Sallay has said so in response to questions posed by Ben de Pear, founder, Basement Films tasked with producing a film for Channel 4 on the Easter Sunday bombings. The producer has offered Sally an opportunity to address the issues in terms of Broadcasting Code while inquiring into fresh evidence regarding the officer’s alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday conspiracy.
The producer sought Sallay’s response in August this year in the wake of political upheaval following the ouster of Gotabaya Rajapaksa elected at the November 2019 presidential election.
At the time, the yahapalana government granted a diplomatic appointment to Sally, he had been head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).The Basement Films has posed several questions to the Maj. Gen. on the basis of accusations made by Hanzeer Azad Maulana, one-time close associate of State Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan, former LTTE member.
In response to the film producer’s query regarding Sally’s secret meeting with six NTJ cadres who blasted themselves a year later, the officer has questioned the very basis of the so called new evidence as he was not even in the country during the period the clandestine meeting is alleged to have taken place.
Activities of extremist elements and the growing threat posed by them was first raised in parliament by the then Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC. The minister earned the wrath of a section of the government parliamentary group for demanding tangible measures to neutralize the threat. Dr. Rajapakshe’s concerns were simply dismissed by the then Yahapalana government.