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The Sri Lanka Catholic Church Spokesman, Rev Fr Cyril Gamini, Friday said that the revelations in an investigative report by the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on the Easter bombing aired last week “further corroborated the position that had been taken by the Church that there had been many discrepancies and manipulations pertaining to the investigations.

“Ravi Seneviratne was former DIG and head of the CID. He has stated that the government and Army intelligence had sabotaged the Easter Sunday investigations. They had done so to protect someone and for political reasons. In addition to the instances mentioned in the ABC news there were many other similar occurrences of manipulating the investigations. That is why we have been demanding that there should be just, transparent and genuine investigation into the Easter Sunday terror attacks,” Fr Gamini said.

The ABC broadcast quoting retired DIG CID Ravi Seneviratne inter alia saying: Military intelligence gave police “wrong information” which concealed the role of the Easter Sunday attackers in an earlier killing.

The attacks by Islamic state-inspired terrorists on churches and luxury hotels killed 269 people including two Australians and injured about 500 other people, the report said. It added the head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is now calling on the Australian government to support an independent investigation into the allegations, a call backed by Melbourne woman Chathudilla Weerasinghe, who survived the attack on Colombo’s Kingsbury hotel.

“They should carry out an investigation … because there were so many blasts on the date — similar timings, coordinated – it has to be a major planned-out thing,” Ms Weerasinghe said.

Both former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and its current military intelligence chief have denied the allegations, the broadcast said.

Saying former DIG Seneviratne and his team were taken off the case when Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office six months after the bombing, the report quoted Seneviratne telling ABC Investigations that his lead investigator was removed without explanation “immediately after the new government was elected — at the time, not even a prime minister or the cabinet had been appointed”.

He said over the months that followed, 22 more officers were removed from the investigation, “but I was not given any reason for any of those transfers”.

The incoming government also imposed an overseas travel ban on more than 700 Criminal Investigation Department officers under Mr Seneviratne’s command, ABC said.Mr Seneviratne said this was seen as a bid to intimidate police who might investigate allies of the Rajapaksa regime. “This was quite illegal,” he had said.

“Because of this action, many officers were scared. Some officers even sought transfers because they didn’t want to work there any longer.”

Police charged more than 90 people in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks, but Seneviratne said investigators hit roadblocks when they found “some intelligence officers had links with the Muslim group”.

One of these was unearthed with help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which traced regular communications with the NTJ terrorists to an Internet Protocol address used by a secret military intelligence operative.

Seneviratne has claimed that military intelligence officers also visited the house of one suicide bomber on the morning of the attacks but did not share this information with police.

“On such occasions, when we tried to question certain individuals and groups, we faced some obstacles,” Seneviratne said.

Sri Lankan intelligence agencies twice stopped police from questioning associates of the suicide bombers on the grounds they were involved in national security operations, he said. “As military intelligence informed us that those officers were dealing with intelligence related secret matters, we didn’t investigate them further.”

Seneviratne had also said military intelligence had thwarted an earlier investigation which he believed could have prevented the Easter Sunday attacks.

He said military intelligence had given police “wrong information” which concealed the role of the NTJ in the murder of two constables in east Sri Lanka six months before the Easter Sunday attacks.

In documents filed in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka last year, Seneviratne alleged the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Security Intelligence Service were “suspected to have conspired to plant [evidence] to mislead CID investigations on the murder of two police officers to prevent them from discovering the real assailants”.

Seneviratne told ABC Investigations that he believed there was “a possibility to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks, if we were able to find out the suspects of the police murders”.