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Bathiudeen denies any relationship with NTJ terrorists

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen/Handout photo

Minister of Industry & Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is denying any personal or political relationship with the terror groups accused of the Easter Sunday massacre.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo on Friday evening Bathiudeen said that he had no personal or official relationship with Chairman of Colombo Traders’ Association (CTA) YM Ibrahim, who is now in detention.

Investigators say two of Ibrahim’s sons and a daughter-in-law were among the nine suicide bombers who killed up to 253 people in Churches and Hotels across the country.

Three policemen who went to Ibrahim’s residence in Dematagoda on a search operation last Sunday were killed when two suicide bombers detonated there. One of them was the only woman bomber, Ibrahim’s daughter-in-law.

He also rejected outright that a house belonging to his sister was rented out to terrorists. “My sister has been living in Canada for the last four years. What kind of renting business do you think she could be doing in Sri Lanka? I totally reject this allegation too.”

Further, he said that it is just playing cheap politics and he and his party All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) reject to play low politics. “None of my political or Ministerial advisers are connected to the terrorist organisation National Tawheed Jamat (NTJ)” He added.

Bathiudeen also said guaranteeing that Mujibur Rahman nor Asad Sali have any connection with the NTJ or its terrorist activities. Further, he said that he and his brothers do not have any links either with the so-called terrorist.

“There is also the allegation that I politically influenced to get some terror suspects released, which too I reject. As a growing political party, we fully support all the official investigations that are currently on and ready to give any assistance. At this critical time, I urge you all, as media personnel, to follow media norms and ethics without blindly reporting what people say for political gains. Such reporting is highly damaging to me and ACMC” he said

Media also reports that the Industrial Development Board (IDB) has given empty cartridges to Shangri La suicide bombers’ metal company on the influence of a powerful government politician. Making a statement to media the Chairman of the IDB Navin Adikarama said that Every year through the approval of the Divisional Secretariat, the Grama Niladari and after the inspection report from the IDB officials raw materials and other facilities are provided to small and medium industrialists.

He further said that these empty cartridges were flattened by the army to the point where they are unable before providing it to the IDB as raw materials and this metal company in Wellampitiya was producing brass wires by melting brass provided to them. They were provided 17 metric ton of brass in 2017 and 100 metric ton during the first 4 months in 2018 according to their requirements and production capacity.

According to Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Ranjith Ashoka, they were informed that this company was exporting brass wire and since 2018 June they were not provided with any kind of raw materials. He also said that it is difficult all the industries which are under them as there are 313 industries to look into from 2018 but taking the things which had happen into consideration, in the future they have decided to establish certain guidelines to inspect and monitor as to what these industries are exactly producing and what is done to the finished goods.