The three-member Committee of Inquiry now examining the disclosures in the Dispatches programme has invited Channel 4 to testify before it. The idea is to urge Channel 4 to adduce proof of the matters it brought out with claims from whom it calls “whistleblower” Hanzeer Azad Mowlana.

The Committee has also sought to deliver a letter to Mowlana. The Committee, realising that the prospects of his coming to Sri Lanka are highly unlikely, has sought an affidavit from him. Such an affidavit, the Committee wants, with proof of the claims he has made.

The Committee is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge S.I. Imam and includes Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody and President’s Counsel Harsha A.J. Soza.

These developments come as Hanzeer Azad Mowlana released a two-page statement in London reiterating the details he gave to the Channel 4 broadcast. However, he did not give any proof of the statements he made.

The lengthy statement noted: “From 2006 to February 2022, I have worked for Shivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, a Member of Parliament, State Minister of Rural Road Development, former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and leader of the political party Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), which had earlier been a militant group. I was the Propaganda Secretary as well as the spokesperson of the TMVP. I was not a fighter. Indeed, I have never been trained to use arms. Because of my position I had access to important and secret information related to the Easter Sunday suicide attacks as well as many political killings that took place during the period of the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“On 21 April 2019 on Easter Sunday a terror attack killed 269 persons including 45 children, 40 foreigners and injured more than 500 others. Only when the media revealed the identity of the suicide bombers after the attack did I realise that I had strong evidence about the masterminds and other perpetrators and the motivation for this terror attack. I have in no way been involved in preparing or carrying out these terrible and devastating attacks.

“Following the defeat of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in 2015, Pillayan was arrested and imprisoned in the Batticaloa prison under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in connection with the murder of former Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament Joseph Pararajasingham, who was shot dead on Christmas Day 2005 at the St. Mary’s Cathedral, Batticaloa. As a secretary to Pillayan, the court had granted me permission, along with his lawyers, to meet Pillayan to discuss legal matters. During a visit in September 2017, Pillayan told me that some Muslim prisoners from Kattankudy were with him in the same cell. A father, his son and six others had been remanded for extremist activities and attacks on another Muslim group in Kattankudy. They were from an organisation called National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ)…….”

He then went on to repeat the accusations made in the Dispatches programme of Channel 4 –ones that were flatly denied by the former Director General of Military Intelligence, Major General Suresh Sallay.

Sallay, now retired, is the head of the State Intelligence Service. He has flatly denied Mowlana’s accusations.

He was on a visit to the United States early this week together with Sagala Ratnayake, Chief of Staff and security advisor to the President, From Washington D.C., Ratnayake flew to Berling to join President Wickremesinghe who made the inaugural speech at the Berling Global Dialogue.