SRILANKAN NEWS

MR’s close aide accused of conniving with Chinese security agencies

A former head of Sri Lanka’s military intelligence and close aide of the Rajapaksa family is allegedly trying to hinder probes by various countries into the deaths of their citizens in the recent terror attacks at China’s behest.

Major General (Retd) Kapila Hendawitharana, who headed military intelligence during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and is the current head of security for the Shangri-La Hotels in Sri Lanka, is said to be obstructing the investigations into the Easter bombings, India’s Economic Times (ET) reported.

According to audio tapes heard by ET, Hendawitharana is allegedly conniving with Chinese security agencies to sabotage the probes. China fears the investigations would allow many countries to expand their presence in the island nation and adversely affect Chinese interests there. Sri Lanka, while absent from the second edition of the BRI summit, is a key pillar in Beijing’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region, building infrastructure including the Hamabantota port.

Following the April 21 suicide attacks and bombings, including at the Shangri-La in Colombo, countries including the US sent their probe agencies to Sri Lanka to assist local investigators. US teams visited the Shangri-La, where a number of its citizens were killed, ET has learnt.

Hendawitharana allegedly urged Chinese officials to use diplomatic means as a “deterrent action” to sabotage cooperation between the Sri Lankan and foreign investigating agencies as the increased presence of foreign powers would be detrimental to Chinese interests in the island nation.

Hendawitharana is heard telling the Chinese officials that foreign powers might even get access to Sri Lanka’s airports and ports as part of their efforts to assist local security agencies.

China has allegedly helped the ex-spymaster’s family members in getting education abroad, ET has learnt.

Hendawitharana was dismissed by army commander Sarath Fonseka as an unqualified “logistics man” but was promoted to Major General by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defence secretary under Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2006. He was brought back as chief of National Intelligence and given broad oversight over all Lanka’s intelligence agencies.

Courtesy: Colombo Gazette

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