MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother, Riyaj Bathiudeen, who was recently released after being held in connection with the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the tragic events yesterday (14).
Testifying before the Commission, Riyaj Bathiudeen stated that he acted as the Media and Coordinating Secretary of the former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
When the Commission inquired if him whether it was the person identified as Insaaf Ahamed who carried out the suicide bomb at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel last year, Riyaj Bathiudeen replied that he saw that on the television.
The State Counsel of the Commission then asked Bathiudeen as to who Insaaf Ahamed is married to. The witness replied saying that Insaaf is married to the daughter of a distant relative Alaudeen. He added that he first met Insaaf at the wedding.
The State Counsel then inquired Bathiudeen whether he held phone conversations or associated Insaaf as a friend. Bathiudeen responded that while he held phone conversations with him, he did associate with Insaaf as a friend.
The witness was then asked whether he knew of Insaaf’s copper factory by April 21, 2019. Bathiudeen replied he got to know of the factory in February 2019.
“He wanted to meet my brother Rishad Bathiudeen over an export issue. Later he called me when I was at the Ministry. When I told him I was at the Ministry he came to meet me. He asked why he wasn’t given an opportunity to meet my brother and added that he would sue him [Rishad Bathiudeen].”
The State Counsel then inquired Riyaj Bathiudeen as to how Insaaf Mohamed obtained his phone number, to which he replied saying he doesn’t know.
The Chairman of the Commission asked witness as to how many phone conversations were held between him and the bomber.
Riyaj Bathiudeen said, “According to the Criminal Investigation Department, there are 07 calls. However, none of them were initiated by me. I haven’t called him in 2019. I may have taken calls from him before that.”
The Chairman then inquired whether he had met with Insaaf Mohamed at a renowned hotel in Colombo. The witness affirmed that he had not met with Insaaf at outside places.