Six-member committee report on March 15 | Sunday Observer
Diverse views on PCoI report

Six-member committee report on March 15

28 February, 2021

Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga said since various people express divergent views on the final report submitted by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that probed the Easter Sunday attacks, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a six-member ministerial Committee with a wide-ranging mandate to carefully study it and make its recommendations.

The ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Minister Chamal Rajapaksa has already met on two occasions and discussed the recommendations of the PCoI report.

As instructed by the President, the Committee will submit its report to the Cabinet on March 15, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday. Minister Ranatunga who is also a member of the Committee said they will have to study the reports submitted by the PCoI, the Special Parliamentary Select Committee (SPSC) that probed the Easter Sunday attacks and the Parliamentary Sectorial Oversight Committee on National Security (PSOCNS).

After studying these three Committee reports, we will submit a comprehensive report to the President on the steps that need to be taken in this regard. “I think this would be vital to initiate proper action against the perpetrators”.

He said the PCoI report contains 500 pages while the other two reports submitted by the SPSC and the PSOCNS also contained a large number of pages.

However, as instructed by the President, we are trying our best to submit our committee report on March 15.

Responding to claims by certain sections that while the report recommended criminal proceedings against former President Maithripala Sirisena and ex-senior Government officials, it had ignored the true culprits of the Easter Sunday attacks.

Minister Ranatunga said the report has not made any reference regarding the State Minister who was in charge of the Police during the tenure of the Yahapalana Government.

“The terrorists who were involved in those multiple terror attacks on Easter Sunday have died. However, we have to find out who was the mastermind behind those attacks but there is no such reference to that in the PCoI report. We don’t know whether such references have not been made as it may pose a threat to national security. Therefore, after fully investigating the PCoI report, we as the ministerial committee would submit our views to the President,” he said.

Asked whether there are any distortions in the PCoI report as highlighted by certain sections of society, Minister Ranatunga said as the ministerial committee, we will have to study its recommendations. The PCoI in its report has not submitted full evidence.

As highlighted by the media, we also have certain issues regarding the evidence given and the recommendations made. That is why this ministerial committee was appointed to fully study the PCoI report.

The Minister said when the PCoI presented its final report to the President, he forwarded it to the Cabinet and the Parliament. At present, this PCoI report is in the public domain so that various sectors could express different views. Having considered the situation, the President appointed a ministerial committee to study the PCoI report and make its recommendations to the Cabinet.

He said the PCoI which probed the Easter Sunday attacks was appointed by the then President Maithripala Sirisena. The PCoI was appointed to investigate terror attacks during the tenure of the Yahapalana regime.

Commenting on the SLFP Executive Committee decision to reject the PCoI report, the Minister said the report has recommended that the Attorney General considers instituting criminal proceedings against former President Sirisena under any suitable provision in the Penal Code. Therefore, as a party the SLFP has expressed its view to defend their leader.