President’s Tiger deal exposed
|The purported office at Mill Road, Vavuniya as per the Cabinet Paper (inset) Mahinda Rajapakse, Basil Rajapakse, P.B. Jayasundera, Lalith Weeratunga, and Tiran Alles|
Published July 08, 2007
Multi-million dollar housing project given to front company of Emil Kanthan
Company formed one month after Rajapakse wins presidency
Cabinet paper put by President while battle for Mawilaru raged
Shareholder directors of company are Emil’s common law wife and her brothers
Money first given to Emil and cabinet paper put as cover
Bogus addresses of company awarded deal revealed
By Sonali Samarasinghe
Damning evidence of the government’s secret deal with the LTTE has now surfaced, revealing President Mahinda Rajapakse granted unsolicited multi million rupee bogus housing projects to the Tigers to allegedly facilitate the transfer of money under the deal.
The bogus projects were being given to the Wanni even as a water crisis depriving some 15,000 farmers of water raged on in Mawilaru, a humanitarian crisis was brewing in Muttur resulting in thousands of Muslims being displaced from their homes, and hundreds of soldiers had been killed in fierce fighting ordered by Rajapakse no less.
The projects were whitewashed through a cabinet paper submitted on August 2, 2006 by Rajapakse himself well after the decision had already been taken and after a large sum of money had already been transferred to the said company.
Two part deal
In fact it was part of the deal agreed upon before the presidential election with the LTTE in exchange for the Tigers enforcing a boycott of the poll in the north and east.
The deal with the Tigers our investigation reveals was two fold. The first part was the payment of a large sum of money by Basil Rajapakse to the LTTE front man Emil Kanthan. Some of the money was in dollar notes, the numbers of which the LTTE had noted before putting it to good use to further their goal for a separate state.
The second part of the deal was to come into effect in the event of Mahinda Rajapakse’s victory and was to include inter alia a housing project for the LTTE, disarming the Karuna group, appointing LTTE nominees to various political offices and resumption of talks in Thailand.
The cabinet note forwarded by the President on August 2, 2006 sought approval to grant the first housing project in the north and east in terms of the post election part of the deal. It was for forms sake to be under the Rebuilding the Nation Jayalanka Housing Programme and given to B & K
Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. of No. 437A, 3rd Lane, Hirunavukulam, Thandikulum, Vavuniya. The deal was for the construction of 400 housing units at Trincomalee; and another 400 units in Batticaloa was awarded to Everest Civil Engineering services of 113/1, Mill Road, Ukulangkulam, Vavuniya.
The note also states ambiguously that 400 other housing units will be implemented in other districts but do not even name the districts, merely stating the entire cost estimate for the ‘required’ 1200 housing units would be Rs. 757,166,000 (inclusive of consultancy fees).
The key player in the entire drama was of course Emil Kanthan, the man the Attorney General’s Department and the Terrorism Investigations Division have identified as a key LTTE intelligence officer in records filed in court.
In fact, former Airport and Aviation Chief Tiran Alles was arrested for allegedly providing funds to Kanthan, a matter he has hotly denied but an investigation by The Sunday Leader reveals it was none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse who provided funds to a front company of Kanthan under the guise of a housing project.
The consultant named in the cabinet note is GS Builders & Consultants of Vavuniya, who top sources said was also connected to Emil Kanthan.
Sources also said that while the cabinet note attempted to allude to some sort of procedural propriety by stating that approval was granted for invited and solicited offers no such thing had actually occurred and the reality was that President Rajapakse engineered the entire post secret deal operation.
It was in fact President Rajapakse who had directed the Reconstruction and Development Agency to put up a board paper and approve the project to be granted to the Emil Kanthan front.
Therefore there had been no cabinet approved tender board, no cabinet procurement committee approval as is mandatory in such development projects and certainly no pre qualification of contractors as per the government rules under ICTAD’s Grade M1 certification.
Ironically even though a shadow military offensive was continuing in the north and east and the armed forces were engaging in combat with the terrorists, Rajapakse did not force a full blown military confrontation until after the Mawilaru incident and well after his cabinet paper was tabled.
President Rajapakse meanwhile maintained publicly he was a patient man who did not rush to war and was observing the Ceasefire Agreement even though there was to be a marked increase in civilian and military deaths in the north east, while privately seeking to allegedly honour promises made to the LTTE.
To top the diabolical deception the Rajapakse administration while making good its promises on the secret deal with the LTTE on the one hand was facetiously calling on the international community to convict the Tigers of war crimes over the Mawilaru anicut.
Our investigation shows that the trumped up projects were handed over to Barkavi Shanthikumar, the common law wife of whom the government identifies as a LTTE intelligence wing member and go-between Emil Kanthan and her two brothers Shanthikumar Kishokumar and Shanthikumar Gajankumar,. The projects were handed over through a construction company – B & K Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. of No.437A, 3rd Lane, Hirunuvakulam, Thandikulam, incorporated just one month after Mahinda Rajapakse took office as the President.
President Rajapakse himself signed the cabinet note on August 2, seeking approval to grant the over Rs. 700 million project to the bogus company whose stated Vavuniya address in the cabinet note is anything but an office.
A Sunday Leader search revealed the company was incorporated on December 23, 2005 in Colombo and not in Vavuniya as stated in the Cabinet Memo giving as its address No.45/4, Church Road, Wattala. However our investigations found the address to be as mysterious as the one given in Vavuniya. There was certainly no office with that number on Church Road, Wattala.
The subscriber shareholders of the company – the common law relatives of the infamous Emil Kanthan — have given their address as No. 48A, Albert Place, Dehiwala. Though this address exists our investigations found only a deserted residence which had been padlocked from the outside.
What is also potentially treacherous is that the bogus company to which the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was now handing over construction projects had as its primary objects not only the business of construction building but also building, owning, managing and operating plants for the generation of electricity using hydro power, thermal power, wind power, fuel or oil and bio gas or other resources not to mention the business of telecommunications.
The very fact the government had not checked the credentials of the companies to which the President was seeking to hand over a project running into over Rs. 700 million was evident from the above details alone and it was so because what was in play was part of the secret deal and the only credential required was that of the man who delivered Rajapakse the Presidency, Emil Kanthan. After all which other company incorporated just six months earlier with no credentials would be given a project worth over Rs.700 million? And just to cover their tracks a bank guarantee was sought.
Be that as it may, the authorised share capital of B & K Holdings Private Ltd. is stated as Rs. 10,000,000. The Secretaries are LM Management Services (Private) Limited of No 291/32A, Havelock Gardens, Havelock Road, Colombo 5.
Funnily enough President Rajapakse would have us believe that the cabinet was satisfied that this recently incorporated bogus company was sufficiently able to undertake a Rs.700 million project to construct homes in the north east when even the Vavuniya addresses given in the cabinet paper of both the consultant firm and B&K holdings were false to say the least.
A Sunday Leader investigation revealed there were no offices at these addresses. No. 113/1, Mill Road in Vavuniya was a residence where one P. Nandakumar and one Rajeswari Nandakumar lived.
No. 437A, 3rd Lane in Vavuniya was also a residence occupied by one Wannisingham Subramanium.
Of little concern
Certainly these did not look like the offices or the employees of two companies able to construct, maintain, manage and operate electricity generators, leave alone construct 700 million rupees worth of houses in the difficult north and east area.
For Rajapakse who is willing to waive the government’s right to first refusal and transfer 25% of NTT shares in Sri Lanka Telecom to a company hastily incorporated in the Netherland Antilles like Global Telecommunications Holdings such a matter may be trivial.
Certainly even the cabinet note seeking approval seems to be mere chicanery and only an attempt to launder the money transfer under the alleged deal.
Both Sooriyaarachchi and Alles who were President Rajapakse’s closest allies at the time revealed it was Basil who had been the main negotiator for the President. Sooriyaarachchi also alleged Basil had paid millions in furtherance of the deal.
More importantly Alles had stated in his statement to the TID that Rajapakse had asked him to secure a connection to the LTTE during the presidential campaign and he had informed the then prime minister he could only give him a business contact – Emil Kanthan.
Once the contact was introduced however it was Lalith Weeratunga, P.B. Jayasundera and Basil Rajapakse who decided on the nitty gritties and allegedly clinched the deal.
Keeping promises post win
While President Rajapakse is not known as a man inclined to honour legal agreements or Memoranda of Understanding the promises to the LTTE which secured his victory and fulfilled his lifelong dream, he was determined to keep.
Once Emil Kanthan had made a request to hand over the moneys under the alleged deal through some project, President Rajapakse shortly after he took oaths as Chief Executive, was made aware of this. He immediately informed Treasury Secretary P.B Jayasundera to do the needful.
To this end President Rajapakse also requested that housing projects be handed over to persons nominated by LTTE’s Emil Kanthan.
By a happy coincidence it was Tiran Alles then still close to Mahinda Rajapakse who headed RADA, the agency now in charge of reconstruction. However Alles had wanted tenders called and evaluations done before handing over such large housing construction projects but Rajapakse, sources alleged, had insisted that both the construction company and the consultant should be nominated by the LTTE link.
Approved without question
Rajapakse had also insisted a board paper on the subject be put up for approval to the RADA board and as it was a request by the President himself the RADA board — as is the habit in Sri Lanka and other underdeveloped, simple-minded third world countries — had approved it without question.
President Rajapakse was to then call P.B. Jayasundera and tell him to release the money to RADA in order to facilitate the unsolicited projects.
RADA sources told The Sunday Leader there were many other bona fide projects discussed relating to the north and east. It is obvious the bogus projects were to be embedded within the bona fide projects to camouflage the government’s subterfuge.
It was to this end that President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, ever the bureaucrat and expert in cover-up documentation, who at a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat which included RADA officials, suddenly realised that the project which had been already granted to Emil Kanthan should be ‘covered’ by a cabinet paper.
By this time some Rs. 150 million had already been paid to the bogus company of Emil Kanthan.
Furthermore once the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of RADA Saliya Wickramasuriya was appointed to the Ports Authority as its chairman it was Shanthi Fernando, wife of Sunimal Fernando, special advisor to President Rajapakse who took over as the COO of RADA.
The cabinet paper was therefore prepared by Lalith Weeratunga and the information had also been communicated to Shanthi Fernando.
The cabinet not surprisingly had approved the project which was indicated as the first housing project for the north and east under Rebuilding the Nation Jayalanka Housing Project. (See box for full text of cabinet paper)
While speculation was rife during the 2005 elections the Rajapakses had struck a deal with the Tigers to disenfranchise over 600,000 voters in the north east in a bid to ensure a Mahinda Rajapakse win, details of the diabolical deed only came to light when ousted Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi publicly announced he was privy to certain aspects of the secret deal with the Tigers and alleged a large sum of money had changed hands.
It was at about this time that former Rajapakse confidant and Airport & Aviation Chief Tiran Alles was also becoming increasingly distanced from the President. But it was not always so.
It was Alles, who was earlier widely rumoured to be the link man between the government and the LTTE, that Mahinda Rajapakse appointed as head of the lucrative Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) even though it was first speculated RADA would come under the purview of UNP cross-over Mahinda Samarasinghe’s Disaster Management Ministry – an agency Samarasinghe had eyed when making his decision to jump. Though promised to Samarasinghe, we know now why RADA was kept within presidential control.
RADA was established in November 2005 under a Presidential directive, as successor to the Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN).
End of silence
Meanwhile Alles who was credited with securing the deal with the LTTE for Rajapakse prior to the presidential election had maintained silence throughout the controversy over the secret deal which led to the Tiger enforced boycott of the election but finally broke his silence May 30.
In a statement to the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) Alles revealed details of the pre-presidential election deal with the LTTE and informed the TID he was requested by Mahinda Rajapakse as prime minister to establish a link with the LTTE to coordinate the presidential election strategy for the north-east.
So happy was Percival Mahinda Rajapakse with the results at the time that Alles was one of the first persons he rushed up to and delightedly hugged at his Presidential inauguration ceremony in November.
Be that as it may, Alles was arrested shortly after making the damning statement indicting the Rajapakses, for allegedly funding a LTTE intelligence wing member identified as Emil Kanthan.
However Alles in his statement while maintaining he at no stage was informed by Sri Lankan Intelligence that Emil Kanthan was a LTTE member, made some startling revelations including that Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera had also in his presence had discussions with Emil Kanthan on matters agreed upon prior to the presidential election.
He further said it was Basil Rajapakse who had several rounds of discussions with Emil Kanthan, a fact reiterated by former Minister Sooriyaarachchi on several occasions in public fora.
He also told the TID a full affidavit revealing the entire sequence of events was sworn by him on February 12 and that he would furnish it to the TID for further investigations. Indeed, Alles has revealed that it was Basil Rajapakse who gave money before the presidential election to the LTTE, details of which no doubt will also surface through the affidavit when it sees the light of day.
Answer to public
President Percival Rajapakse not only as the country’s first citizen but as the Commander in Chief has to now answer the people why he was to continue to deal with Emil Kanthan as the Head of State while the LTTE had only weeks before taken control of the Mawilaru anicut cutting off the water supply to 15,000 innocent civilians in the Seruwila area and resulting in the destruction of some 30,000 acres of paddy lands.
The LTTE when closing the sluice gates on July 20, 2006 claimed that under an ADB scheme meant for uncleared territory as well had been taken out of the implementation programme. According to TNA Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan the LTTE claimed this was the work of the new governor for the north east and the new government agent for Trincomalee.
It was even as the SLMM was sitting and talking to the LTTE and to local villagers to resolve this problem that the air force dropped a bomb in the vicinity and the meeting was thwarted.
Attempts to resolve this conflict continued with even Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer arriving in Sri Lanka and visiting Kilinochchi.
An agreement was reached but when the SLMM Chief, the Political Head of the LTTE and some people from that area went to release the water on Sunday, August 6 more military attacks were to follow.
Following this it was reported in the media the SLMM was holding the government totally responsible for the breakdown in the settlement to the Mawilaru water crisis after the security forces allegedly launched a fresh shell attack on LTTE cadres near the anicut just before the LTTE was to open the sluice gates.
It was reported the “SLMM Spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson had in fact charged it was clear the government had other agendas in mind but stressed that it was not the end of the road as negotiations for a settlement were still continuing.”
While the water war was raging on the one hand with the government only intent on a prestige battle rather than supplying water to the starving villagers, simultaneously the LTTE moved in to Muttur and heavy clashes between the Tigers and the military ensued resulting in the displacement of over 53,000 Muslims.
The army meanwhile vowing to recapture the anicut was to commence military operations from Kallaru army camp on July 28 risking the lives of soldiers even as troops attempted to move towards the anicut through heavily mined fields and amidst LTTE artillery attacks. By July 30 a fierce battle had commenced some 400 metres from the anicut which left several military personnel dead.
The incident was getting to such proportions the UNP also warned that an armed conflict between the LTTE and the government would result in the destruction of the Mawilaru tank, calling on both parties to adhere to the Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA).
On July 24, the Government Peace Secretariat released a report which stated the LTTE action was a war crime under International Law and the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court, also saying; “The LTTE has forcibly closed the water supply from the Mawilaru Anicut (irrigation channel) to the Seruwila, Muttur and Ichalampattu areas in the Trincomalee District, preventing the flow of water that sustains approximately 15,000 families and feeds approximately 30,000 acres of paddy land. The LTTE has prevented the Irrigation Department from opening the sluice gates. In addition, the LTTE has prevented the SLMM from having access to the location and blocked efforts by the SLMM to facilitate restoration of the water supply.”
Two days later the Government Peace Secretariat, now desperate over Mawilaru stated, “The Government of Sri Lanka, at the highest levels, has repeatedly called upon the LTTE, through the Norwegian facilitators and the SLMM, to restore the water supply to over 15,000 families in the Trincomalee District who have been deprived of water since the LTTE forcibly closed the Mawilaru Anicut on Thursday, 20 July, 2006.”
The report went on to add, “The Government of Sri Lanka has also raised the matter with the diplomatic community and international organisations. There is agreement that the denial of water to civilians by the LTTE is a blatant contravention of all norms of civilised behaviour and the rules of international law.’
In what was to become a cruel joke and in their haste for prestige both the LTTE and the government claimed they had opened the sluice gates. However the SLMM confirmed the sluice gates had been opened by the LTTE.
It is during this horrendous ordeal that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was continuing to deal with the LTTE. It was during this period of starvation and suffering that the Chief Executive of this country who neither honoured his pre election commitments to the Marxists or to the Buddhist monks was to be hell bent on honouring his agreement with the terrorists.
Meanwhile it is ironically Tiran Alles who is arrested by the TID for keeping company with the LTTE point man to whom it is in fact the President of this country Mahinda Percival Rajapakse who granted projects signed under his very hand.
It is now Tiran Alles and funnily enough UNP Minister Jayalath Jayawardena who are being questioned by the TID on their knowledge of Emil Kanthan.
President Percival should know this. Knowing a man is one thing. Doing deals with him in order to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people in order to perpetrate election fraud is quite another.
|Mahinda’s note to cabinetRebuilding the Nation under|
Jayalanka Housing Programme
First Housing Programme for North and EastThe Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) has been directed by me to commence projects for equitable assistance to all needy communities, irrespective of whether they were affected by conflict or Tsunami, in the fields of housing, livelihoods, social and physical infrastructure.One of the first projects identified for immediate and speedy implementation is the construction of housing units for conflict-affected communities in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticoloa, Ampara, Vavuniya and Mannar districts. Housing requirements obtained from 42 GN divisions in these districts amounted to 1200 housing units. The Board of Management of RADA granted approval to invite offers from consultants and contractors in the area to implement this project. Funds for the project are to be obtained from the Consolidated Fund.Accordingly, offers were solicited from prospective consultants and parties willing to undertake housing construction in the stipulated areas. GS Builders & Consultants of Vavuniva was selected as the Consultant for the project.B&K Holdings (Pvt) Ltd of No. 437A, 3rd Lane, Hirunavukulam, Thandikulam, Vavuniya, which offered the lowest quote for a 500 sq. ft housing unit at Rs 624,725/(exclusive of VAT) was selected as the Contractor for the construction of 400 housing units at Trincomalee. Another 400 units in Batticaloa was awarded to Everest Civil Engineering Services of 113/1, Mill Road, Ukulangkulam, Vavuniya, at the same rate of Rs 624,725.00 (exclusive of VAT).Housing projects in Trincomalee and Batticaloa are in progress, and the total cost estimate for both projects is Rs 499,780,560/-. With the addition of 400 housing units to be implemented in other districts shortly, the entire cost estimate for the required 1200 housing units is Rs 757,166,000/- (inclusive of consultancy fees).I seek the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to proceed with the construction of the 1200 housing units as envisaged above.August 2, 2006SgdMahinda Rajapakse
PresidentP. B. Jayasundera sheds lightWhen The Sunday Leader spoke to P.B Jayasundera regarding the secret deal significantly he did not deny meeting Emil Kanthan but referred instead to a meeting at ousted Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s house and stated he had met people but did not know who they were. Q: Your name has transpired as having been present at meetings..A: I can only say I have not participated in any discusions with the LTTEQ: With Emil Kanthan?A:I haven’t participated with anybody because I attend various discussions with various people. I don’t know the peole who come to those meetings and from which group.Officially Minister Mangala Samaraweera invited us for a meeting so we have gone, so there must have been people but we went as officials. But our dealings are as officials. So I don’t know why Tiran Alles made that statement because my dealings with him was only as chairman RADA, not beyond that.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, Karuna Amman, Douglas Devananda
Asian Tribune chief spills the beans
in letter to Presidential Advisor
Defence Ministry blessings called for
to get Karuna out of the way
President promised to do the
needful in Geneva
President told to get rid of Karuna
because he is a liability
Karuna said to have smuggled out Rs. 500 mn of monies given by Govt. and through abductions
Rajasingham sends chilling message on how to deal with Karuna aide
Karuna smuggled into UK by Govt. on forged diplomatic passport
Govt.promotes Pillayan to take over TMVP
Published 11 November 2007
By Sonali Samarasinghe
Evidence has surfaced of an elaborate plan by the government to dump Karuna who was becoming an embarrassment to the Rajapakse regime, given the heightened international focus on gross human rights violations and to replace him with Pillayan.
Karuna who waged an internecine and bloody war in the east was smuggled out of the country by the government on a forged diplomatic passport and arrived in the UK on September 18.
He was later arrested in London on November 3 for travelling on a forged passport on a tip off largely thought to be by the Pillayan faction within his own breakaway group.
Pillayan takes over
Not 48 hours later armed Pillayan forces took over all the TMVP offices in Batticaloa while political head V. Thileepan still loyal to Karuna became the latest victim of in-fighting. He was reported to have swallowed a cyanide capsule and admitted to hospital.
Documentary evidence in our possession now reveals that the government was in the know at the highest levels on the dirty deeds of Karuna with some possibly having aided and abetted Karuna in a sordid drama of kidnapping, white vans, murder, abductions and extortion and the lynch pin in this game was one K.T.Rajasingham based in Sweden who was hatching the scheme for a variety of reasons including to promote his own business.
Our documentation suggests that as reported in our sister paper The Morning Leader on Wednesday not only did Karuna reach the UK to join his wife and three children with the help of the Rajapakse government but also that he was allegedly able to spirit away a colossal sum of Rupees 500 million said to be moneys collected through abductions and other funds allegedly given by the government for the support of his cadres.
Hatching the plot
In fact these details are part of an official report sent by Rajasingham to President Rajapakse’s advisor Sunimal Fernando as recently as October 24 for follow up action. That is just 10 days before Karuna was arrested. And it is based on a meeting Rajasingham had with President Rajapakse no less in Geneva in June 2007.
Taped telephone conversations and other evidence also suggest that Rajasingham was involved in stoking the flames of the fratricidal war between Karuna and Pillayan and making efforts to project Pillayan as the political face of the Karuna Group and helping the second in command in a mad race to register his faction as a political party before Karuna did. (See box for conversation)
K.T. Rajasingham if readers care to know is the editor of the Asian Tribune, an on-line daily newspaper launched in Bangkok in 2001 now based in Sweden plugging the government line evidently for its own monetary benefit. He is a man originally from Point Pedro.
While pugnacious nationalists often accuse peaceniks of using the war to raise funds for their NGOs, written evidence in our possession show how the war scoundrels continue to spread the message of hatred and misguided patriotism in order to promote their own businesses, collect funds and expand their personal business empires.
Closed door meeting
Most of the damning evidence surfaced following a closed door hour long meeting President Rajapakse had with Rajasingham in the company of EPDP Leader, Minister Douglas Devananda at the Presidential Suite No. 1727 Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva from approximately 4-5 pm on June 15, 2007 where the Karuna issue was discussed at length.
Rajapakse arrived in Geneva at 5.10pm on June 14, for the International Labour Organisation Conference. Dayan Jayatilleke at the time one recalls had newly been appointed the UN Permanent Representative in Geneva for Sri Lanka. It was not 24 hours after his arrival that the President was to meet Asian Tribune Editor Rajasingham in his Presidential rooms at the Intercontinental.
And it is here the government plotted on how to get rid of a colossal international embarrassment that was Karuna. The entire discussion was reduced to paper and sent as a confidential report to President’s Advisor Sunimal Fernando for follow up action via email. The Sunday Leader is in possession of that communication and much more.
Many aspects were discussed at the meeting from education to advertising which this newspaper will reveal in the weeks to come. But today we focus on the east.
The discussion according to Rajasingham’s communication which basically were the minutes of the discussion with Rajapakse, starts with the President thanking the Asian Tribune for the great service rendered to the country. Rajapakse commends the Editor for his services to the country and assures his wholehearted support and assistance to the Asian Tribune.
Rajasingham also makes various suggestions on Sri Lanka’s relationship with India. President Rajapakse after discussion agrees a special delegation would be sent to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi and M.K.Narayanan to find out what India actually expected Sri Lanka to do regarding the ethnic issue.
In fact Rajasingham said he too was prepared to go with a delegation that included H. L.D.Mahindpala for the Sinhala perspective and President Rajapakse directed Devananda to make the necessary arrangements.
Rajasingham was to propose the launch of a satellite TV to disseminate news feeds from Rupavahini and ITN and President Rajapakse immediately gave him the necessary permission to do so.
The Editor also said such an ambitious project would cost some Euro 22,000 per month per continent to which President Rajapakse said he would extend his full assistance and support. Rajasingham said he would also launch a 24 hour EuroAsian radio for government propaganda and grumbled he did not receive any advertising from the government institutions. Rajapakse was to then assure all assistance and support for the radio channel and promised to look into the latter complaint.
Getting rid of Karuna
Rajasingham was to now detail an elaborate scheme to oust Karuna and appoint Pillayan in his place. Karuna was to be discarded as a spent force who had outstayed his usefulness as he had nothing further to add on either the LTTE atrocities or details of the northern terrain. Further he was described as a liability to the government.
In this regard Rajasingham also said that though Pillayan being a child recruit himself was better aware of the Wanni and Jaffna terrain than Karuna, neither of them would be of use to the army top brass in its military push in the north. Therefore Rajasingham suggested that even Pillayan be eventually discarded while the government caused a third rift in the LTTE in the Wanni in order to tap a more knowledgeable source.
President Rajapakse agreed to discuss this matter with defence officials and do the needful according to the document.
It is not three months after this discussion that Karuna was spirited out of the country by government officials on a diplomatic passport bearing number D1944260.
The forged diplomatic passport was issued by the Immigration Department on the orders of top authorities in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on August 30, 2007.
Karuna was issued a valid British visa stamped on the forged travel document in the name of Kokila Gunawardena by the British High Commission in Colombo on September 5 on a recommendation by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry sent a Third Party Note to the British High Commission in Colombo together with a number of passports recommending visas for a group of persons to attend a climate change conference in Britain and included in the set of passports was a diplomatic passport in the name of Kokila Gunawardena.
Gunawardena was recommended for the visa as an official representing the Wildlife Department coming under the Environment Ministry of JHU’s Champika Ranawaka.
What is even more damning is that his visa application to the British High Commission under the false name Kokila Gunawardena states ‘Director General, Wild Life Conservation Department.’
A week later on September 22, Ranawaka would travel with President Rajapakse to New York to attend a climate change conference in New York. Funnily enough somewhere in between a group of officials from the Wildlife Department of which one was the renegade Karuna was purportedly visiting a climate change conference in Great Britain.
In fact Karuna landed at Heathrow Airport on September 18 and was accompanied to the aircraft at the Bandaranaike International Airport to board the London flight by Airport and Aviation Deputy Chief Shalitha Wijesundera.
Karuna was arrested in a house in the affluent Kensington area where his wife and three children are residing. His wife and children have already lodged their papers for asylum and are in England legally.
Karuna immediately upon arrest was to claim political asylum but it is unclear how the British Home Office would view the case given his track record as a humans rights offender.
Aiding and abetting
The Rajapakse government and or several state departments now stand accused of aiding and abetting Karuna Amman to obtain a passport nay no ordinary one but a diplomatic document. The Deputy Aviation Chief accompanied Karuna to the aircraft. A fact he has yet not denied.
Remember Thilanga Sumathipala. The man was incarcerated without bail for having aided and abetted one Dammika Perera to travel on a forged passport by giving him funds from the Cricket Board.
Now the highest in this land stand accused of the same crime. If Dammika Perera was a criminal Karuna Amman is an international terrorist. He has been accused of war crimes by the apex world body – the United Nations. How long will the arm of the law be when the perpetrators are whole governments?
Be that as it may below we give a synopsis of what transpired at the meeting in June as minuted by Rajasingham and sent to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando.
The discussion focused on the split between Vinyamoorthy Muralitharan alias Col. Karuna Amman and Pillayan.
K.T.Rajasingham was to tell the President that it was he who had contacted UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy and assured her on behalf of Karuna, during a conference call that the group would not recruit under age children any further.
Note this. Rajasingham by stating that an undertaking was given not to recruit children any further admits that children were being recruited thus far. Recall that Alan Rock, Special Rapporteur for Coomaraswamy gave the UN representative a damning report which not only stated Karuna recruited children but alleged that some sections of the government forces aided Karuna in such recruitment.
In fact an official communication by the UN office announced that Karuna had contacted Coomaraswamy on December 4, 2006 regarding the listing of his group in Annex 2 of the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council on children and armed conflict as a group that recruit and use children.
Coomaraswamy in an official statement from her office welcomed Karuna’s move stating “This is a major step forward that will help to prevent children from being used by armed groups in Sri Lanka. I hope that this will lead to effective action on the ground.”
Be that as it may Rajasingham tells President Rajapakse in this June discussion that Karuna had assured to him as well as Coomaraswamy that he will not recruit under age children and will allow his bases to be inspected by the UNICEF representatives to ascertain that there are no underage child recruits with him.
Rajasingham also informed Rajapakse that he had taken part in a conference call with Advocacy Director, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch together with Karuna where Karuna had given an assurance again that he will not recruit underage children and in turn Rajasingham too gave an assurance on behalf of Karuna.
Note: The very fact that Rajasingham finds he can speak on behalf of Karuna vis-a-vis the international community on the one hand and on behalf of the government on the other is damning in itself.
Rajasingham then told Rajapakse that on May 4 this year after Karuna attacked his own cadres and ordered Pillayan’s supporters to be killed he had also got to know that Thileepan and Jeventhiran were ordered by Karuna to have their own teams. Among them said Rajasingham, they have 190 underage recruits. Even to Inniyabarathy Karuna had instructed to recruit underage children.
By this Rajasingham was effectively telling the President that Karuna had underage children among his cadre which even if Rajapakse did not know upto that point he was from that point on aware of.
Ironically it is the very man Rajasingham, who had given such assurances to the likes of Radhika Coomaraswamy on behalf of Karuna in December 2006, who now in June 2007 admits that Karuna in fact has underage recruits.
Rajasingham explains to Rajapakse that the Asia Tribune supported Karuna because he was to enter mainstream politics and had promised not to get involved in abductions, collecting ransoms, killings and recruitment of children as cannon fodder.
A stick to hit Pirapaharan
Rajasingham explained that Karuna with his parochial political approach looked down on those from Jaffna using pejorative terms like Yarlapani but Rajasingham supported him despite hailing from Jaffna as he wanted to use him as a ‘stick to hit at Pirapaharan and LTTE.’
Rajasingham lamented that while he supported Karuna thinking that though he started his career as a terrorist he could be rehabilitated, he was mistaken. He tells the President that while Karuna speaks vociferously about wanting to enter mainstream politics he follows his erstwhile leader Pirapaharan and is bent on ethnic cleansing and driving the Jaffna Tamils who have lived for three-four generations in the east.
Murder most foul
Rajasingham now says; “I was told that he is the one responsible for the abduction and killing (yes he has killed him according to unconfirmed reports) of Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ravindranath of the Eastern University.”
Karuna is then described to the President as a liability to the Rajapakse government and a spent force who should be got rid of.
Vital to note is that Rajasingham says to the President, “We have already made use of his narration about the LTTE’s atrocities, plans and targets. It is now nearly three years has lapsed (sic) since he came out of the LTTE and he has no more real stories to narrate and he will be of no use to anyone.”
Rajasingham also says that though Karuna was a regional commander of the LTTE for the Batticaloa-Ampara districts his knowledge of the Wanni and Jaffna terrain is limited.
Of Pillayan, Rajasingham says he was also a child recruit at the tender age of 14 years and today is only 30 years of age (infact 29) as an ordinary cadre he has roamed in Jaffna and Wanni and knows the terrain better than Karuna.
But listen to this well. For it reflects not only the warped thinking of the government but its callous attitude towards those it uses to further its own ends. For now Rajasingham tells President Rajapakse that in fact neither Pillayan nor Karuna will be of any use to the security forces. And if the top brass think they can use them in the battle against the LTTE in the north, it is wrong.
In fact it is now suggested that it is better to cause another split within the LTTE from the Jaffna District itself to work with the security forces in the north.
Rajasingham suggests strongly that the government gets rid of Karuna who is a liability and work with Pillayan and his men who are more popular in the east than Karuna. As far back as in June he tells the President that Pillayan is planning the arrest of Karuna, but only hesitate as they are unsure of the reaction of the Defence Ministry.
Rajasingham also states that if there is going to be an election in the east and if Karuna’s faction is pitted against the LTTE’s proxy party, TNA or any independent groups led by leading personalities, the Karuna Group would not even be in a position to retain their deposits. But he says they can of course “use their lethal weapons and through threat and intimidation rig the election and stuff the ballot boxes.”
It is in that context, Rajasingham tells the President Karuna should be got rid of if the Defence Ministry agrees.
To this President Rajapakse agrees and according to the minutes promises to take the matter up with his defence people and ‘do the needful.’
Rajasingham then informs Rajapakse that Karuna has threatened him, Rajasingham, through his side-kick Inniyabarathy and has sworn that he will give a contract to kill him and his family.
Devananda stabbed in the back
Ironically however, in his October 24 report to Sunimal Fernando of the June meeting with the President, where Devananda was also present, Rajasingham questions in bold print and in parenthesis the usefulness of Minister Douglas Devananda himself.
At one point he states in the written minutes having in June suggested Devananda’s name in his presence as a minister in charge of overseas Sri Lankans as follows:
“(At Present Mr. Rajasingham is of the view that Hon. Douglas Devananda has never come forward to promote the government other than promoting his EPDP politics. Therefore Mr. Rajasingham suggests that best person to take up the portfolio as minister in charge of overseas Sri Lankans is no other than Mr. Basil Rajapakse.)”
Thus Rajasingham demonstrates he is no spring chicken in the dirty game of politics.
In fact with regard to Indo Lanka relations when Rajasingham in June suggested Sri Lanka must try its best to find out what India expects from her, Rajapakse had responded by stating that he had told Douglas Devananda to visit New Delhi on his way back to Colombo from Geneva and discuss certain aspects that had been raised.
Rajasingham then suggested he was prepared to go along with a Sinhalese and a Muslim person and suggested to include H. L.D.Mahindpala in the delegation who will be able to convey the Sinhalese aspirations to the Indian leaders.
Rajapakse agreed with the suggestions according to the report and conveyed to Devananda to make the necessary arrangements while it was also agreed to keep this decision highly confidential.
Deviously however Rajasingham in his report of October 24 to Fernando says again in Parentheses, “(It was unfortunate that Hon. Douglas Devananda has failed to show interest in this project. Therefore I am of the opinion that he should not be entrusted with the arrangement of this meeting with the Indian leaders.)”
But back to the meeting in June. The Asian Tribune Editor and Rajapakse now discuss diplomatic representation.
Rajasingham condemns the Sri Lanka High Commission in the United Kingdom as uncooperative with the Asian Tribune. He states that the lady High Commissioner Kshenuka Seneviratne and First Secretary Maxwell Keegel are uncooperative and avoid responding to telephone calls.
He suggests that the entire London High Commission be completely revamped right from the lady High Commissioner downwards.
The Asian Tribune Editor who seems to have been elevated to Presidential Advisor at Large next turns his vitriolic eye on Sri Lanka’s Embassy in France as well, castigating the lady ambassador as a woman very hesitant to divulge information. She is to leave at the end of 2007, Rajasingham confirms at the meeting.
Funnily enough recall that Ambassador Wagiswara was recalled by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama recently in a surprise move and another person appointed in her place. The jigsaw pieces held up against the master plan drawn up in Geneva in June seems to now slowly fall in to place.
Be that as it may Rajasingham continued to grumble wanting Rajapakse to secure its sources for stories. ‘If the Diplomatic mission fails to come forward to work and cooperate with us then how it is possible for us to fight the anti-government elements in Europe?’ he asks Rajapakse.
But France and England were not the only offenders. Rajasingham points out that Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Oslo, Norway was not coming forward to talk with other Tamil groups in Norway. He also said that Ahmed A. Jawad who was the ambassador earlier had been accused of being very close to the LTTE in Oslo and with Erik Solheim and others.
Missions a failure
Even the new ambassador, Rajasingham complains is the same.
The discussion also focused on Sri Lanka’s embassies in the West which Rajasingham said were concerned only with country to country diplomatic affairs. He said missions were sending weekly reports by interacting with a handful of the diaspora but there was no machinery available to interact politically and otherwise with these diasporas and churn them into diaspora organisations in favour of the government to promote the interests and welfare of Sri Lanka.
New diplomatic position
Suggesting a new position in the overseas mission Rajasingham said there should be officials from the Ministry with a crash course in foreign diplomacy who may be appointed as counselors with independent charge in all our missions abroad. These officials he said could function according to instructions of the Ministry of Overseas Sri Lankans.
Rajapakse had at the June meeting agreed with Rajasingham that such a portfolio was good to embrace the Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese in the West and in Australasian countries.
Funding for Asian Tribune
The June meeting also discussed funding and business expansion for…yes, you’ve guessed it, the Asian Tribune. Here’s how it went.
Rajasingham proposed that he was willing to make use of the news feeds and other Sri Lanka material put out by Rupavahini and ITN in a new satellite TV transmission simultaneously sothat viewers in Asia, Europe, Africa and America would be able to see the official position of the government.
Of course he explained this would cost a tremendous amount of money to make use of the Hot Bird satellite platform. Nearly 22,000 Euros per month per continent he told Rajapakse. He explained the footprints of this satellite was only seen clearly within a particular continent.
President Rajapakse agreed saying it was prudent to begin the transmission of the TV in the beginning to one continent and gradually expanding the transmission to other continents. Rajapakse promised Rajasingham he would extend all the assistance and support.
According to minutes of the meeting sent to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando President Rajapakse had granted the necessary permission to Rajasingham to transmit the programmes from Rupavahini and ITN.
Rajapakse had also said that necessary instructions would be given to the officials of the two TV stations to assist Rajasingham in his new media programme.
No govt. advertising
Of course Rajasingham was quickly to slip in that he had not obtained any sponsorship from any government organisations such as SriLankan Airlines, Tourist Board, Tea Board, Bank of Ceylon, People’s Banks etc., etc. He pointed out that so far none of those government corporations had come forward to advertise in the Asian Tribune.
President Rajapakse helpfully promised to look into the matter forthwith.
Rajasingham also informed Rajapakse of Asia Tribune’s grandiose plans to launch the EuroAsian satellite radio explaining it would be a satellite radio which would be a new media outlet of the World Institute of Asian Studies (WIAS) that publishes the Asian Tribune.
EuroAsian Radio will be accessible through satellite receivers and internet initially. As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, Rajasingham said he was planning to have it broadcast through FM radio throughout the island and requested Rajapakse to grant FM radio licences to cover the entire island for the EuroAsian Radio and also transmitting tower facilities.
Behind the breakup
Be that as it may, in other communication in our possession Rajasingham claims he was instrumental in getting rid of Karuna on behalf of the government and was also behind his breakaway from the LTTE. Rajasingham claims he promoted Karuna and encouraged him to spike the LTTE but fell out with him when he got involved in a fratricidal war in May this year with his second in command Pillayan.
It is Rajasingham who had been doing the ground work for the registering of the new party and for making Pillayan the new leader of the Karuna Group. According to taped telephone conversations he was in touch with Pillayan and other eastern cadres in order to register a new political party and find a new logo for the party.
Rajasingham in fact was to speak to Pillayan before Karuna registered his political party the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) and push for Pillayan to quickly get in on the act.
Rajasingham advises Pillayan to quickly draft a constitution and make a members list but Pillayan is apprehensive saying the other faction may register themselves sooner with the help of Krishnan, Karuna’s deputy.
It is then that Rajasingham’s sinister soul is bared. “We must do something there to Krishnan before he comes,” he says. And just for a minute the human face of Pillayan takes over. ‘Paavam’ he says in a moment’s weakness. ‘Sin.. I feel sorry.’
But Rajasingham, Editor of Asian Tribune is adamant. ‘No .No,’ he says. ‘He is a dangerous man. If he comes he should be locked up.’
Be that as it may the Asian Tribune Editor, according to communications under his hand reveal, not only met President Rajapakse in June but has also been in close touch with Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in order to get the Pillayan faction registered as a new political party.
As recently as November 1, 2007 Rajasingham in written communication states that Pillayan will not trust anyone in his outfit but that he is in the process of getting the names and addresses of 2000 people and drafting a constitution in Tamil as he has to outsmart Karuna by registering the political party very secretly and consolidate his hold.
For this purpose Raghu, a man purporting to be Pillayan’s lawyer with the full backing of Rajasingham devises a scheme to cook up party minutes and even get approval of the political party from the elections commissioner by fax.
In touch with the top
Rajasingham has also been in touch with government lackeys, defence officials and top Foreign Ministry officials including persons close to President Rajapakse in order to implement the tangled plan hatched in the cool climes of Switzerland in June.
It is to top all this that the publishers of Asian Tribune WIAS has launched into another project that would stoke the ego of President Rajapakse on the one hand and give WIAS a firm platform in the south on the other. That is to write the biography of President Mahinda Rajapakse called ‘Power of Southern Grassroots – Journey of Mahinda Rajapakse.’
The ego centric Mahinda Percival Rajapakse who gets his photograph plastered not only on every billboard but also on monuments to the 2008 Olympic Games in China is not likely to reject such an exciting prospect for the sake of posterity.
But for Rajasingham it was not all about Mother Lanka. He was determined to link this entire sordid mess together with funding for his business. To this end he sent a large funding proposal prepared by him and dated May 9, 2007 on November 1, 2007 to the government.
But of course as seen the matter of funding and advertising had already been discussed by Rajasingham at the highest levels in Geneva.
As part of its funding efforts with the government Rajasingham and the Asia Tribune liberally used in its document the names of several persons such as H.L.D. Mahindapala, head of its Australian Bureau, Daya Gamage, US Bureau head, and Sugeeswara Senadheera, head of the Sri Lankan Bureau,
As contributing columnists he cites Dayan Jayatilleke who is also Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative for the UN in Geneva and Tisaranee Gunasekera and Leel Pathirana, an ex jailed JVPer.
Rajasingham estimates according to his proposal that his budget for 2007 would be a conservative USD 518,000. Remember this is an on-line edition and therefore there are no recurrent costs.
It is as a culmination of this elaborate plot as enumerated above hatched in the Presidential Suite of the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva that on September 17, Karuna was smuggled out of the country on a diplomatic passport in the name of Kokila Gunawardena.
|Rajasinghan phones PillayanAn English translation of a taped conversation in Tamil between Editor, Asian Tribune, K.T.Rajasingham and Pillayan that took place a few days before Karuna’s arrest in London. Pillayan also talks of a Padmini. Krishnan who is spoken of is Karuna Amman’s deputy who it is said will be coming down from London to Colombo shortly. Rajasingham: HelloPillayan: HelloR: Now the time is 10:15, today is Friday.he might go out (third person)P: YesR: You’ll have to draft a constitution and members listP: OKR: Meanwhile I will try to contact him before thatP: How long will it take you because I think they will draft one before us. How can we block that?R: Who will give them support to registerP: I think KrishnanR: Before Krishnan comes we can do it. But we must do something there to Krishnan before he comesP: Sin.I feel sorryR: No No he is a dangerous man. If he comes he should be locked up..Paper called Theepoli says that Padmini has run away, have you heard about it. P: Yes, Yes I heard Sunimal has a memory lapseThe Sunday Leader contacted Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando who said he could not recollect an email sent to him by Rajasingham but would check his mail box on Monday. When it was pointed out the email contained a very important report on a meeting Rajasingham had with President Rajapakse he said his subject as an advisor was very limited and confined mainly to the teaching of English and he was unable to understand how a report of this nature would be forwarded to him. Fernando did not deny receiving the email nor knowing Rajasingham. Sources close to the Asia Tribune Editor however told The Sunday Leader K.T. Rajasingham claimed he was a close friend of Sunimal Fernando. KT declines to commentThe Sunday Leader wrote to Asia Tribune Editor K.T.Rajasingham on the matter and asked to speak to him but he replied as follows; “Vanakam.Regret, unable to speak on the subject you have mentioned in your e-mail. Thanks and regards. K.T.Rajasingham www.asiantribune.com” http://www.thesundayleader.lk/archive/20071111/spotlight.htm|
Documents on plan to rid Karuna from Lanka surface
President and Douglas involved in discussion in Geneva
Diplomatic passport number issued to Karuna is D 1944260
President told to get Defence Ministry approval for ouster
Document says President promised to do needful in June
By Sonali Samarasinghe
Shocking documentary evidence has surfaced that the plan to get rid of LTTE renegade commander Karuna was discussed with President Mahinda Rajapakse and Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda in June in Geneva by the head of the Asian Tribune K.T. Rajasingham.
The plan is disclosed in an e-mail letter dated October 24, sent by Rajasingham to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando calling for follow up action on a series of issues discussed with the President in Geneva on June 15. Rajasingham’s letter to Fernando states, “I am attaching the report of the discussion I had with HE President when I met him in Geneva, Switzerland on 15 June 2007 for information and necessary action.”
According to the document the President, Minister Devananda and Rajasingham had discussed issues ranging from child recruitment by Karuna, role of the Defence Ministry in protecting Karuna, changes in the diplomatic service, setting up communication networks to counter LTTE propaganda and winning over India.
The discussion according to Rajasingham’s letter to Fernando took place at the Presidential Suite No 1727, Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva.
The government on August 30 obtained a diplomatic passport for Karuna in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on which forged passport Karuna travelled to London and reached Heathrow Airport on September 18. The number of the forged diplomatic passport issued to Karuna is D 1944260.
A spokesperson for the Immigration Department said a diplomatic passport to a person who is not holding a designated high office can be issued only on a directive by the President’s Secretary.
Sri Lanka‘s Foreign Ministry issued a Third Party Note to the British High Commission in Colombo and obtained a visa for Karuna on September 5 to travel to UK on the forged passport bearing number D 1944260 in the name of Kokila Gunawardena. The Foreign Ministry claimed ‘Kokila Gunawardena’ was to attend a climate change conference on behalf of the government as a representative attached to a department which came under the Environment Ministry of JHU’s Champika Ranawaka. He was described in the visa application as the ‘Director General of Wildlife Conservation.’
In his letter to Presidential Advisor Fernando it is stated by Rajasingham that Karuna managed to reach the UK with the help of Sri Lanka’s Intelligence Service and that he had spirited away Rs 500 million from monies collected through abductions and that given by the government to support his cadres.
In the discussion with the President and Devananda, it is revealed in the minutes that Rajasingham had said Karuna is a liability to the government and a spent force who should be got rid of.
It had been further said at the June meeting according to the minutes Pillayan was ready to arrest Karuna but was hesitating because the ‘higher ups in the Defence Ministry would not entertain such a step.’
“I suggest let the government get rid of Karuna, a liability and work with Pillayan and his men who are more popular in the east than Karuna,” Rajasingham had proposed.
The President according to the minutes then makes a damning comment.
States the minutes sent by Rajasingham on Rajapakse’s response; “HE said that he will take up the matter with his defence people and do the needful.”
In other written communications last week Rajasingham has boasted he had a role to play in the Karuna split from the LTTE and his exit from Sri Lanka.
Karuna was arrested by the British authorities in the posh London surburb of Kensington for entering the country on a forged passport. Karuna has sought asylum when arrested.
The President’s choice of advisors and the govt.’s dance with Karuna
Pillayan, Rajasingham, Karuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
K.T. Rajasingham dismisses Douglas as an opportunist not interested in projects put forward by him
Asian Tribune admits telephone conversation with Pillayan which included instructions to kill
Minister Fernandopulle’s Coordinating Secretary complaints to CID and TID against Asian Tribune Editor Rajasingham
Dr. Rajaratnam says danger lurks around him after Rajasingham sent him several emails
Minister’s Coordinating Secretary accuses Rajasingham of being a close associate of well-known terrorist Pillayan Minister’s Coordinating Secretary accuses Rajasingham of being a close associate of well-known terrorist Pillayan
Rajasingham implies at Geneva meeting with MR that Rohitha unsuitable for job and his duties be taken over by Basil
Asian Tribune angry with female Heads of Mission Kshenuka Seneviratne and Wagiswara and wants them removed
Coordinating Secretary expresses shock at contents of phone call and asks Rajasingham not to drag him to a web of killings and murders
Minister’s Secretary makes complaint to Police Rajasingham gave instructions to Pillayan to assassinate Krishnan
By Sonali Samarasinghe
In another twist to the Karuna drama already replete with plots and subplots of human smuggling, forgery and assassination orders, Dr. TC Rajaratnam co-ordinating secretary to Senior Cabinet Minister and Chief Government whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, has made a complaint to the police post in Parliament against K.T.Rajasingham the editor of the website operating from Sweden calling itself Asian Tribune.
Calling the entire saga a conspiracy, and stating Rajasingham has been sending him emails and communicating with him on the subject with insidious motives, Rajaratnam states in his complaint that given the calibre of Rajasingham, he now fears for his safety as danger lurks around him. He has also informed Minister Fernandopulle of the entire issue and sent copies of documentation and tape recordings to family members as security.
The co-ordinating Secretary was unwittingly drawn into this drama after he was requested to take steps to register a political party for Pillayan to outsmart Karuna as reflected in the documentation.
The complaint made last Friday ( (November 9) is against K.T. Rajasingham of Karl Wahrens Vag 22 B, 73 34 Hallstavik, Sweden, Editor, Asian Tribune and his close associate Pillayan.
Rajaratnam has urged the Criminal Investigations Department, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) and the Ministerial Security Division to take appropriate action against the Asian Tribune editor whom he says has claimed Pillayan will act according to his instructions.
Pillayan is the de facto head of the LTTE breakaway Karuna group. The Karuna faction stand accused of a spate of killings, abductions for extortion and kidnapping. It has also been accused of gross human rights violations and child recruitment by rights bodies with the apex world body the UN filing a report which stated the group was engaged in child recruitment with the help of some elements of the armed forces.
What is deadly in the boast of Rajasingham is that in Dr. Rajaratnam’s complaint he states that a taped conference call had revealed that K.T. Rajasingham had given instructions to terminate Krishnan, a deputy of Karuna’s scheduled to arrive from London.
The complaint now reveals that K.T. Rajasingham of the Asian Tribune published from Sweden had allegedly committed a serious criminal offence and/or a terrorist act on Swedish soil no less by ordering and or initiating the assassination of one Krishnan or at least have him illegally incarcerated.
The Sunday Leader last week revealed in an extensive expose details of plans to get rid of Karuna and replace him with Pillayan, a plot hatched as far back as June, 2007 in Geneva at a meeting between President Mahinda Rajapakse and K.T.Rajasingham which included Minister Douglas Devananda as well.
Karuna was subsequently illegally smuggled out of Sri Lanka on a forged diplomatic passport bearing number D 1944260 and landed in London on September 18. On a tip- off widely thought to have been made by his rival Pillayan, Karuna was later arrested by British authorities and detained at an immigration centre. This attracts added credence considering Rajasingham’s order to have Krishnan disposed of or incarcerated on arrival in Sri Lanka.
The Sunday Leader last week published an English translation of a transcript of a taped conversation between Pillayan and K.T.Rajasingham where Rajasingham clearly tells Pillayan to get rid of Krishnan, a deputy of Karuna’s. Pillayan however being the known terrorist in Sri Lanka has more compassion than the so-called editor of the website Asian Tribune. Pillayan therefore says, ‘Sin.I feel sorry’ but Rajasingham insists that Krishnan is dangerous and something must be done about him.
From all the evidence in our possession it is obvious that Karuna’s deputy Krishnan, becomes dangerous only as he would hinder the plans which had its beginnings in Geneva in June 2007.
Rajasingham as we revealed last Sunday was instrumental in trying to get Pillayan’s faction registered as a political party in Sri Lanka. However Pillayan according to taped phone conversations, had revealed to him that it was Krishnan who was making arrangements to have Karuna’s political party registered with the elections commissioner.
Be that as it may, confirming in writing that the taped conference calls and conversation between Pillayan and himself as published in full in The Sunday Leader last week, Rajasingham of the Asian Tribune emailed Minister Fernandopulle’s Coordinating Secretary Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam last Friday November 9, immediately following an email he received from The Sunday Leader asking for his comments within an hour. To that email he replied he had no comment to make.
His email to the coordinating secretary says, “I give you below the email I received from Ms. Sonali Samarasinghe..I never believed when Pillayan alleged that you recorded the two telephone calls he made to you.”
Not only that, Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam was to write another email to Rajasingham of the Asian Tribune where he also confirms that due to security threats all telephone calls made to him are being recorded for more than a year. It is these copies he has kept in the custody of his family members for his security.
The Coordinating Secretary Rajaratnam says, “I was indeed shocked by the voicemail message which had recorded your conversation with Pillayan who too had blood on his hands. Why did you choose me as a scapegoat?” Rajaratnam also warns the Asian Tribune Editor that he has handed all these recordings to the proper authorities. “All these recorded conversations are not only with the CID, TID but also in possession of my two sisters in the UK both of whom are naturally concerned of my life. Hon. Douglas Devananda too is aware as I have discussed this matter with him and also forwarded these to Hon. Jeyaraj Ferandopulle my two sister (sic) in the UK and my cousins.”
Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam further states “I am particularly shocked by your conversation with Pillayan where you are giving instructions to get rid of Krishnan. I do not want to get involved in killings and murders…I was shocked by the contents of your conversation with Pillayan.”
Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam also says, “If as indeed Pillayan did allege that the conversation were recorded, then you failed to inform me in time. As such you have placed my life in danger.”
“I was indeed disturbed by your emails which was suggesting to me to contest as I am not interested. I am a sick person. I have been in and out of hospital.”
In an earlier email to Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam, Rajasingham had claimed he was behind Karuna’s breakaway from the LTTE and had promoted him to spike the Tigers. He also claims he was responsible in a way for Karuna to be sent out of Sri Lanka and that he promoted Pillayan to get rid of Karuna.
Further cementing the close links between Pillayan and the Asian Tribune, Rajasingham also claims in an email to Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam thus.”Pillayan listens to me. He has a problem and he has to outsmart Karuna by registering the political party very, very secretly and consolidate his hold..Presently he cannot trust everyone in his outfit. He is based in Batticaloa. He has to pick and choose his confidential people.”
Be that as it may, Dr. Rajaratnam in his complaint (Please see box for copy of full complaint) to the police also states that Asian Tribune editor has made several claims that he is powerful with certain VVIPs.
These claims Rajasingham makes even in emails to Dr. Rajaratnam where he urges the ministerial coordinating secretary to contest on the SLFP ticket.
To this end he says he has had a discussion with Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in Israel where he discussed about Dr. Rajaratnam.
Whether such claims are founded in reality or merely hallucinatory is another matter. Rajasingham however assured Dr. Rajaratnam that he has taken up his case with Rajaratnam’s own Minister. He writes in an email,
“I told him that I have told you to contest for Parliamentin the next election from the Electoral District of Colombo on the SLFP ticket. Also Iasked him whether it is possible? He said that it is possible and told me that you have to nurse the electorate for the Tamil votes.
“I think we have initially got the ‘Green Light’ and I am confident that I can take up your matter with Minister Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary,and alsowith Governor Alavi Moulana – both of them are my friendsand ultimately with President Mahinda Rajapakse… I think you may also try to meet Governor Alavi Moulana. If you want I will talk to him before you go to meet him.”
However his claims of being able to manipulate Sri Lanka’s political high and mighty to do his bidding came to naught at least with regard to Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam who writes back stating he has no desire to join politics as he is not in the best of health.
In an official report of the meeting Rajasingham had with President Rajapakse in June and sent on October 24 under confidential cover to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando, significantly Rajasingham says that Pillayan is planning the arrest of Karuna.
But he says, they are hesitating as the higher ups in the defence ministry would not entertain such a step. He also suggests according to him that the government get rid of Karuna, a liability and work with Pillayan and his men who are more popular in the East than Karuna.
Rajasingham further says in his report that if there is to be an election in the east and the Karuna group is pitted against the LTTE proxy party the TNA or any independent groups led by leading personalities, the group would not even be able to retain their deposits. But he then goes on to say, thy can use their lethal weapons and through threat and intimidation rig the election and stuff ballot boxes.
President Rajapakse had said at the meeting according to the, minutes that he would take up this matter with his defence people and ‘do the needful’.
What is also vital and incriminating of the highest in the land is this paragraph written in bold and in parenthesis obviously as subsequent comments to the minutes of the meeting.
“Now Mr. Rajasingham understands that with the help of Sri Lanka’s intelligence service Karuna has managed to reach UK to join his wife and three children. We also learnt that he managed to spirit away from Sri Lanka nearly SL 50 crores to London. (One crore is 10 million) These were the monies he collected through abduction and from the money given by the government for the support of his cadres)”
The dubiety and calibre of Rajasingham is evident again by his own report as sent to Presidential advisor Sunimal Fernando. As per the report cum minutes of the Geneva meeting in June, Rajasingham of the Tribune while making overtures to Minister Douglas Devananda in his presence, by suggesting that President Rajapakse should nominate him as Minister in Charge of Overseas Sri Lankans in addition to his own portfolios is not above letting Devananda down badly in other quarters.
Never come forward
In fact in his own minutes as a subsequent addition in bold and parenthesis he states (At present Mr. Rajasingham is of the view that Hon. Douglas Devananda has never come forward to promote the government other than promoting his EPDP politics. Therefore Mr. Rajasingham suggest (sic) that best person to take up portfolio as Minister in charge of overseas Sri Lankans is no other than Mr. Basil Rajapakse).
In an email to Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam on November 1, he says “Douglas Devananda is known to me very well. I can’t call him as my friend. But known to me. He is an opportunist. But I have to write about him because he is minister, Leader of a political party and on top of all these he remains to be a Tamil.”
What is even more ironic in this whole conversation is that the minister in charge of overseas Sri Lankans is in fact Rohitha Bogollagama the Minister of Foreign Affairs through the Foreign Ministry and its various missions overseas.
Rajasingham is therefore not only casting aspersions on the entire network of diplomatic missions on the basis that officials in the missions take little notice of him when he calls them for information on sensitive issues, but is also making it clear to President Rajapakse that the present Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama is a failure. Not only that he runs down in particular, female diplomatic officers as incompetent and uncooperative.
As published last week in The Sunday Leader Rajasingham at his discussion in Geneva with President Rajapakse had berated the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London specifically the lady High Commissioner Kshenuka Seneviratne and First Secretary Maxwell Keegel and said the whole mission should be revamped with new officers.
Obviously a misogynist, he continues to run down other lady High commissioners as well.
Rajasingham through his contact with the Government has also launched on a book writing exercise. The subject of the book would be none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse whose biography is to be called ‘Power of Southern Grassroots – Journey of Mahinda Rajapakse,’ to which Rajapakse has consented according to Rajasingham.
Rajasingham is however far more keen to have his funding proposals for The Asian Tribune implemented. To this end he sends his lengthy proposals which contains glaring falsehoods to Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and the President having discussed it in Geneva.
Applying for a loan
According to this proposal the World Institute of Asian Studies which publishes the Asian Tribune is applying for a loan on the basis that it is an online daily that has established its reputation for objective reports and analysis also as the alternate voice of humanity and as the guarantor of freedom and freedom of expression of the people of Asia.
Mind you even as Rajasingham calls himself the voice of humanity there is already a complaint in the Parliament police post that he gave instructions to assassinate another human being or have him illegally incarcerated.
Whether the countenance and objective of the Asian Tribune is that of independence and freedom of expression, as per Rajasingham’s own minutes of a meeting he had with President Rajapakse in Geneva, is a matter readers can judge for themselves.
However, while applying for funding on these bloated objectives stating it had taken a stand against undemocratic regimes it states in its constitution that it intends to apply to the commissioner for the Swedish revenue service for exemption from all taxes and other levies.
Whether Rajasingham finds that instructions to assassinate is part and parcel of taking a stand against undemocratic regimes one does not know, but the last time we checked that was a criminal offence. Perhaps the World Institute of Asian studies reads from a different book.
In several subsequent emails to Dr. Rajaratnam he continues to urge him to take action on the funding proposals. However while angling for money on the one hand Rajasingham also sends to Jeyaraj Fernandopulle the constitution of the so called World Institute of Asian Studies which stated it intends to apply to the commissioner for the Swedish Revenue Service for exemption from all taxes and levies.
But Rajasingham’s subterfuge is endless. In the official proposal for funding prepared by K.T.Rajasinghamand sent toSenior Cabinet Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, he makes deliberate false statements to cheat the government of Sri Lanka into funding him. Perhaps to make himself and his website look more attractive Rajasinghamassertsfor instance that Mr. Neville De Silva is the Asian Tribune’s Diplomatic Editor. Here is what Rajasingham claims.
“Neville de Silva – Diplomatic Editor, Asian Tribune, former Centre Page Editor for South China Morning Post, Hong Kong. He is the Founder and President of the Editors Guild in Sri Lanka. Also visiting lecturer in Journalism in various Universities and College of Journalism in the many Commonwealth country Universities and Schools of Journalism”
Au contraire. Neville De Silva is not even a member of the Editors’ Guild in Sri Lanka. He could not have been founding editor in any event as Mr. De Silva was in Hong Kong when it was formed. Neither was Neville ever the centre page editor of South China Morning Post. He was an assistant editor, diplomatic editor and political columnist for the Hong Kong Standard and for a short time free lanced for the South China Morning Post Sunday as a diplomatic correspondent and a feature writer for its diplomatic supplements.
Mr. Neville De Silva never lectured at various Commonwealth universities as claimed by Rajasingham but only at Baptist College (later University) in Hong Kong. Mr. Neville De Silva also edited the Commonwealth Feature Service in London.
With such deliberate falsehoods for monetary gain written under Rajasingham’sown hand in an official document to get funding, little wonder Rajasingham now finds himself well and truly in the soup.
Next week: Rajasingham’s minutes of meeting with President.
|Matter is now before our lawyersThe Sunday Leader and its Consultant Editor Sonali Samarasinghe on November 12 sent Letters of Demand through her lawyers in Sri Lanka to K.T.Rajasingham, admittedly a close associate of terrorist Pillayan for defamatory statements made against her by Rajasingham as editor of the Asian Tribune. She has claimed damages in the sum of Rs. 500 million.Excerpts of the Letters of Demand sent To the Editor and Publisher of Asian Tribune from Sri Lanka by G.G.Arulpragasam Attorney-at Law. .I write on the instructions of my client Ms. Sonali Samarasinghe.. I have been instructed by my client to state that my client is a Lawyer by profession and practised law for several years before taking up full time journalism. My client has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the Australian National University and a LLB Degree from the University of London My client is also a trained journalist holding diplomas in journalism from Australia and Sri Lanka. My client during her career has been posted in Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Mission in Australia as an Information Counsellor. She is a multiple award winning journalist having received the top journalistic award in Sri Lanka, the Editors Guild Journalist of the Year award four times in the year 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2006. My client was also awarded several other prestigious awards including “Scoop of the Year”, “Columnist of the Year” and “Best English Journalist” on several occasions since 1998. Last year my client received the “Zonta Woman of Achievement Award for 2006”..and is currently the Editor of The Morning Leader and the Consultant Editor of The Sunday Leader.I have been instructed by my client to state that you are the Editor of Website “Asian Tribune” and on the 12th of November 2007, and in the said Asian Tribune website you had carried a report under the headline “Sri Lanka Media in Crisis. The most corrupt in Asia” under the pen name media watchman….I have been instructed by my client to state that the said statement is per se defamatory of my client and also defamatory by innuendo.I have been instructed by my client to state that by the said statement published in your website you did convey to the reading public that my client did gain the diplomatic post by insidious and immoral means and that my client did gain the said diplomatic post not by her own merits and she is not worthy of getting such diplomatic post.I have been instructed by my client to state that my client was appointed to the said diplomatic posts purely on merit and not in the manner that your website has alleged. I am further instructed by my client to state that from the professional qualifications and achievements in her career as aforesaid you will no doubt concede that my client is more than qualified to get a diplomatic posting.I have been instructed by my client to state that you have wilfully and deliberately made the said false, malicious, defamatory statement against my client.I have been instructed by my client to state that you carried the said false and defamatory statement in the said website due to the fact that my client wrote an article in The Sunday Leader of 11th November 2007 exposing Asian Tribune Editor under the headline “Plot to get rid of Karuna was hatched at a presidential suite in Geneva” and under the sub-heading “Asian Tribune chief spills the beans in letter to Presidential Advisor”.I have been instructed by my client to state you did carry the said statement in the said website with animus injuriandi and further with express malice and mala fide.I have been further instructed by my client to state that the said statement in your website was carried not only to insult and humiliate my client but also to discredit the newspaper ‘The Sunday Leader”.I have been instructed by my client to state that the said statement carried in your website is absolutely false and false to your knowledge and same has been wilfully and deliberately published with the intention to defame my client and to ruin, ridicule and humiliate the unblemished character of my client as a person, as a professional and as a journalist.I have been further instructed by my client to state that you as well as your Asian Tribune website cannot face the exposure made by my client under the heading of “Plot to get rid of Karuna was hatched at a presidential suite in Geneva” and under the sub-heading “Asian Tribune chief spills the beans in letter to Presidential Advisor” and therefore your website has now chosen to sling mud at my client to keep my client gagged and to not expose the hideous corruption and plot in the Karuna episode.I have been instructed by my client to state that notwithstanding your cheap and degrading media conduct my client will continue to fight for justice and to expose the real countenance of you and of the Asian Tribune.I have been instructed by my client to state that due to the aforesaid defamatory statement, my client suffered loss and damage which my client estimates at Rs.500 million.In the circumstances, I am instructed by my client to and do hereby demand of you the said sum of Rs.500 million within 14 days from the date hereof.In the event of your failure to pay the said sum of Rs.500 million within 14 days from the date hereof, I have further instructions from my client to institute legal proceedings against you, for the recovery of the said sum together with interest and costs of suit.Yours faithfully,G.G.Arulpragasam_____________Box 2T.C.Rajaratnam unavailable for commentCoordinating Secretary to Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam suffered a mild heart attack last Monday (12) and was admitted to hospital following an exchange of emails with Asian Tribune editor K.T.Rajasingham and which Dr. Rajaratnam had described in his complaint to the Parliament police post , CID and TID as putting him under ‘suspicious circumstances’ given the Asian Tribune editor’s terrorist links.Dr. Rajaratnam on entering hospital and fearing for his safety, had forwarded his email address and password to his sister in London. When The Sunday Leader contacted his family members to reach Dr. Rajaratnam, they said he was not available for comment.________________Box 3Not deterred by false referencesThis columnist wishes to state that she will not be fazed by the defamatory and false references made against her personally and professionally and will continue to expose the issue surrounding Karuna’s flight from Sri Lanka on a forged diplomatic passport based on verifiable documentation and tape recordings. It is obvious this barrage is to deflect attention from the real and serious issue of human smuggling, forgery and attempt to assassinate as revealed in last week’s The Sunday Leader, where even the highest in the land was implicated in Rajasingham’s own words. In the meantime all documentation and other evidence are with The Sunday Leader lawyers for appropriate action..______________Box 4Dr. T.C.Rajaratnam’s complaint to the Parliament police post“I am making this statement in furtherance to the suspicious circumstances that surround me. In particular aganist Mr. K.T.Rajasingham of Karl Wahrens Vag 22 B, 73 34 Hallstsavik, Sweden and his associate Mr. Pillayan. Mr. Rajasingham is the editor of Asian Tribune. I was requested by Hon. Jeyaraj Ferandopulle, the Chief government Whip of Parliament to contribute an article and that Mr. Rajasingham would speak to me. I was asked to contribute a series of articles to the Asian Tribune.Mr. Rajasingham has been sending me emails and I have been responding to them in regard to articles. Mr. Rajasingham has displayed a lot of cliam that he is powerful with certain VVIPs. He is a close associate of Pillayan and claims that Pillayan will act according to his instructions. On one occasion he has made a conference call to me with Pillayan (the famous terrorist who has taken over from Karuna). It was recorded by my voicemail. This conversation reveals assassination instructions to terminate one Mr. Krishnan(an associate of Karuna) scheduled to arrive from London. The serried of emails and voice recordings of conference calls made by them and the conference calls between both Rajasingham and Pillayan have been handed over to appropriate authorities. the emails and recorded conversations are shocking and a threat to democracy.Since my discovery of the conspiracy of their motives I have notified Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle about the danger that lurks around me and my fear.I am making this statement for my own personal security. I would appreciate the CID, the TID and the MSD to take appropriate action.I am making this statement for personal security.Dr. T.C.RajaratnamCoordinating Secretary to theChief Government Whip of ParliamentParliament, Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte, Sri Lanka.|
Supreme Court takes AG to task as the Tiger deal returns to haunt Govt.
|Sarath N. Silva, Romesh de Silva, Shirani Thilakawardena, Tiran Alles and G.G. Arulpragasam|
SC says indictment against Tiran is mala fide
Sarath N. Silva, Romesh de Silva, Shirani Thilakawardena, Tiran Alles and G.G. Arulpragasam
harassment by SC
Tiran indicted for dealing with
Emil during 2004-2005
‘Terrorist’ Emil Kanthan given new
passport by Govt. in April 2007
Emil was in and out of Sri Lanka in
2006 doing business with Govt.
Published December 07, 2008
By Sonali Samarasinghe
Attempting to subvert the course of justice in relentless pursuit of a past political dissident comes easy to the common or garden regime. And last Thursday it was yet again the intervention of the Supreme Court that prevented such a pass as the apex court observed it was the duty of the court to grant relief to persons who are subjected to harassment.
We said before that the Supreme Court now seemed to be the most effective opposition to a toxic government and last Thursday (4) the judiciary proved this true once again as it issued a stay order on the proceedings of the High Court in indictment filed against former Airport and Aviation Chief Tiran Alles and CBE Finance Director Dushyantha Basnayake.
The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Shiranee Tilakawardena and K.Sripavan in issuing the order observed that the Attorney General has filed indictment based on legal provisions that had no validity or force of law in Sri Lanka.
Basnayake and Alles filed motions in Fundamental Rights applications 94/2007 against their alleged arbitrary arrest and detention on May 30, 2007 for alleged financial deals with Tamil Tigers under the Suppression of Terrorism Financing Act No. 25 of 2005. The duo were released on cash and surety bail.
Following the arrests Alles and Basnayake filed Fundamental Rights Applications in the Supreme Court against their alleged arbitrary arrest and detention.
Just last month on November 10 the Supreme Court granted Alles’s company Communication and Business Equipment (CBE) Ltd. interim relief to operate Dialog services in the east.
In granting relief the Bench comprising Chief Justice Silva and Justices Shiranee Tilakawardena and Saleem Marsoof came down hard on the Rajapakse cartel warning state counsel the government would be in deep trouble if CBE took up the matter in the International Court in Geneva.
Deeming the action to freeze all operations of CBE disgraceful, the SC said the Petitioner could have even gone to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
CBE owned by former presidential confidant, chairman Airport and Aviation Services and head of RADA, Tiran Alles was the exclusive dealer for Dialog in the north and east until it was suspended following a government directive after then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi parted ways with the Rajapakse regime.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General, Kanchana Ratwatte on March 3, 2007 suspended the dealership of CBE following a directive by the Defence Ministry citing security considerations.
Following a stoppage of their services in March 2007 CBE was to file a Fundamental Rights Application against the Director General of TRC among others claiming their action to stop their services to the north and east was ultra vires, arbitrary, capricious and violated its fundamental rights to equality and the freedom to engage in any lawful business.
Alles alleged the actions of the respondents were politically motivated and the CBE had become a victim of a political spat involving the state hierarchy.
The CBE is also part of a company that published the two newspapers, namely Mawbima and Sunday Standard which were forced to close by the government last year even as the Rajapakse government proceeded to freeze Alles’ assets and bank accounts. Alles has so far been successful in releasing his assets through court intervention but his two newspapers remain silent.
Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam on November 10, told court the AG would be indicting the petitioner in one month on the strength of these revelations.
Following this submission the AG had in fact filed indictment No. AC 4506/2008 in the High Court of Colombo where Tiran Alles and Dushyantha Basnayake were charged on two counts of assisting and promoting terrorism by buying a land on Epitimulla Road, Kotte for a sum of Rs. 4.4 million for the mother, namely Anthony Anna Lakshmi of one Anthony Lakshmi Emil Kanthan knowing him to be a member and/or agent of the LTTE and for building a house for the said mother on the said land for a sum of Rs. 9.9 million on or about September 1, 2004 to August 31, 2005.
The indictments stated that by these acts the accused had violated a Gazette notification issued on October 16, 2001 based on the United Nations Act of 1968.
The UN Act No 45 of 1968 provides for the Government of Sri Lanka to give effect to any decision taken by the UN Security Council. In such an event the Foreign Minister may implement these decisions by regulations including provision for the apprehension, trial and punishment of persons offending against the regulations.
According to Section 2(2) every regulation made under the preceding provisions of this section shall, forthwith after it is made, be tabled in parliament. Accordingly in order to give the force of law to Security Council Resolution 1189 adopted subsequent to the horrendous acts of terrorism that took place in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, then foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was to sign the UN Regulation No. 1 of 2001 on October 11, 2001.
Under the regulations:
(a) no person who is a citizen of Sri Lanka or residing in Sri Lanka and no citizen of Sri Lanka living outside Sri Lanka shall do, or cause to be done any act which assists or promotes or is intended to assist or promote any act which is directly or indirectly connected with the collection of funds, for any terrorist organisation or which are intended to be used to carry out a terrorist act;
(b) Any funds or other financial assets or resources of persons who do, or cause to be done, any act which assists or promotes or is intended to assist or promote any act which is directly or indirectly connected with any terrorist organisation or a terrorist act, or participates in, or facilitates the commission of any terrorist act shall be frozen with immediate effect;
(c) No citizen or any other person or body of persons shall within the territory of Sri Lanka make available directly or indirectly for the benefit of any organisation or person who commits or attempts to commit or participates in or facilitates the commission of any terrorist act any funds, financial assets or economic resources shall be guilty of an offence under these regulations.
Here’s the thing. While this newspaper shall not make any comment on the merits or demerits of the case, or the culpability or otherwise of any of those connected to the case we are entitled to point out that the government best be wary of pointing fingers at those who at one time were high on their lists of special dinner guests.
Tiran Alles was a close confidant of Mahinda Rajapakse during the 2005 presidential campaign.
A close ally of former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Alles was not only appointed Airport Chief but also the Reconstruction and Development Agency Chairman by Rajapakse following his victory and was welcomed by the President to Temple Trees on the day after the election with a bear hug in front of the television cameras, and those in the inner circle knew only too well, why.
The appointment to RADA was not without significance since it was tasked with handling tsunami reconstruction in the north-east.
In fact it was Alles who was credited with sealing the deal with the LTTE urging them to boycott the elections for Rajapakse prior to the presidential election through the facilitation of Emil Kanthan.
Early in 2007 the late Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi, a minister Rajapakse sacked along with Samaraweera, charged that Rs. 200 million was paid to the LTTE by the Rajapakse campaign team to get the boycott order issued. The LTTE and Rajapakse denied the charges. But police continued to investigate Alles’ alleged business dealings with Emil Kanthan, a Tamil businessman allegedly close to the LTTE.
But if the government alleges Emil Kanthan is a spawn of the LTTE and a terrorist agent pray why was it that this man was not arrested on his many trips in and out of the Katunayake InternationalAirport?
The government in order to suppress the media has been blacklisting journalists and editors and even attempting to prevent them from traveling overseas.
However it would seem the Rajapakse regime has no qualms in even escorting to the plane and lavishing travel comforts on such former LTTE members as Karuna Amman and according to the government itself a Tiger agent, Emil Kanthan.
According to documents and passenger lists in our possession Emil Kanthan whom the government now identifies as a LTTE terrorist for the purpose of indicting Alles has traveled in and out of Sri Lanka while the Immigration Department has turned a blind eye on whom the government identifies as an LTTE operative.
Mind you that is in the backdrop of the National Intelligence Bureau having a permanent presence at the airport to monitor the movement of undesirables.
On January 10, 2006 Emil Luxmi Kanthan Anthony departed the Katunayake Airport on UL Flight 123 at 7pm. He filled out Embarkation Card No. E290026 and was cleared by officer Chinthina Rathnayake. Eight days later he arrived on UL122 at 12.20am filling out Disembarkation Card No. D285593 and cleared out by Sripathi Ranji Widanapathirana.
Here’s a list of his departures and arrivals between January 2006 and May 2006
Flight Departure Arrival
The irony is that Alles was indicted for alleged dealings with Kanthan even before this date but at that time given the allegations of the secret deal for the presidential election, Kanthan was a VIP as far as the regime went and was free to travel to and from Sri Lanka without any hassle.
In fact this was the time Emil Kanthan was given a multi million rupee contract by the government to build houses in the north and east for services rendered during the presidential election and millions of state funds doled out to him. And all this on a Cabinet Memorandum under the signature of President Mahinda Rajapakse no less.
More shocking is the revelation and documentary proof now in the possession of The Sunday Leader that Emil Kanthan was also issued a valid passport by the Immigration authorities on 11.4.2007.
This is well after Tiran Alles was arrested on charges of financial dealings with suspected terrorist Emil Kanthan and mind you over two years after the period mentioned in the indictment as the period in which the offenses were said to be committed – that is in 2004/2005.
The application for Emil Kanthan’s travel document was received by the Sri Lanka Mission in Dubaiand issued to him on 2007.04.11. His passport number as of 2007 was N1887710. His address is given as B2F/21 Kotahena Flats, Colombo 13. (See box)
However Emil Kanthan traveled in 2006 on passport no. N1600130
The issue is this. Why did the Rajapakse regime countenance the application for a Sri Lankan passport in 2007 and enable this Emil Kanthan to travel freely in and out of Sri Lanka in 2006 without apprehending him forthwith if they believed him to be a LTTE operative?
Surely two citizens of Sri Lanka had already been arrested on charges of financing this very man. At the least he would have served as a prime witness to the indictment that was to follow.
Or is one to believe that like facilitating the travel for Karuna Amman on forged documents under a false name, this too may be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders?
Funnily enough the regulations brought by Kadirgamar it is alleged were signed only a day after parliament was dissolved on October 10, 2001 and thus had no force or validity in law.
However that is a matter for the courts to decide.
AG told off
Indeed the Supreme Court was to zero in on this issue when the motions filed by Alles and Basnayake on November 28 were supported by President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva instructed by G.G Arulpragasam on December 4.
Chief Justice Sarath Silva who had earlier warned the Attorney General not to file indictment for the sake of filing indictment was to tell the AG ‘I gave order saying don’t file indictment for the sake of filing.’ Justice Tilakawardena was just as harsh. ‘It’s like challenging the Supreme Court order’ she said. ‘For almost two years you have harassed this person. Failing everything you now latched on to this Gazette which is also not valid,’ she said.
Funnily enough the two senior officers of the AG’s Department, Dapula De livera and Buwaneka Aluvihare were not present in court.
The AG’s representative was to then make an application to court not to grant any interim relief in the case but to give a date as Dapula Livera DSG was unable to be present in court due to personal reasons.
Chief Justice Silva shot back, is it a personal problem or a legal problem?
In rejecting the date for the AG the court observed that the case was mala fides, and ultra vires the law and issued a stay order forthwith. The Chief Justice in doing so stated “I cannot understand the mindset of the AG in formulating this indictment.”
The court also observed that for one and a half years the AG had not filed indictment and only did so when the Supreme Court granted relief.
The next date of hearing is January 19, 2009.
Mangala goes on the offensive over Tiran
“Tell the President that I thanked him for all he has done. I never imagined this man had such low qualities. He is a liar. On one side he calls me and tells me that he has stopped the letter calling for an explanation from me. A few hours later he sacks the Weligama Pradeshiya Sabha chairman who worked for me. Now he has got officers to surround Tiran’s room to arrest him. Alavi, keep one thing in mind. All these acts when one is in power cannot go on for long.”
It is common in politics to come across people who forget their past, but it was only after Mahinda Rajapakse assumed office as President that the country came across someone who also harasses those who helped him gain power.
It was former Minister Mangala Samaraweera who managed Rajapakse’s presidential election campaign together with former Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi. Apart from all that it is the owner of Standard Newspapers and former Airport and Aviation Authority Chairman, Tiran Alles who supposedly made the alleged deal with the LTTE, which helped Rajapakse win the election in 2005.
During the first year, Rajapakse treated Samaraweera, Sooriyaarachchi and Alles well. However, all this seems to have changed now.
It was in 2005 that Rajapakse told Alles, when the latter went to Temple Trees to congratulate Rajapakse soon after the election, that he won the election because of Alles’ contribution to the campaign.
Rajapakse also sent his brother Basil Rajapakse to Samaraweera’s residence that day with a special message. The message was that since Samaraweera played a key role in bringing Rajapakse into power, he could request any ministry he wished for. Samaraweera was given the three ministries he requested for – Foreign, Ports and Aviation.
The same applied to Sooriyaarachchi. Although he was not made a cabinet minister, the ministry he was given had many institutions gazetted under it.
Everyone was under the impression that Rajapakse was a man of gratitude. This however started to erode a few months later with news of various plots being hatched by the President and his brothers to harass Samaraweera, Sooriyaarachchi and Alles coming to light.
A cabinet member who visited the President a few months after he was sworn in said that it was the deal made by Alles with the LTTE that helped Rajapakse win the election. However, the President did not agree with it this time around. He said, “What nonsense, they did not do anything. It was not because of what Tiran did that the Tamil people were prevented from voting. It was something else.”
Change of tune
The minister then reminded the President of the statement he had made soon after the results were announced, where he hugged Alles and said it was he who had made the victory a reality.
“Yes, that was then. They did work for me, but I remember what Mangala, Sripathi and Tiran did to me during Chandrika’s time. So there is no need to give them credit for my victory,” Rajapakse said.
The minister informed Samaraweera, Sooriyaarachchi and Alles of the President’s statement and it was then that the trio realised what Rajapakse was up to.
They fervently believed that no matter how hard they worked to bring Rajapakse into power, he would do everything possible to destroy them politically.
What Rajapakse did next was to arrest Sooriyaarachchi and to make various threats to Samaraweera.
The several rounds of discussions held between Samaraweera and Rajapakse with Alavi Moulana’s mediation ended with Samaraweera not accepting any portfolio.
While efforts were made to bridge the differences between Samaraweera and the President, the Terrorism Investigations Department (TID) arrested Alles’ financial director.
Political power play
However, the media reported that Samaraweera was ready to join the government following the discussions with the President. Alles’ financial director was then released on bail, which appeared to most as a resolution of all issues between Samaraweera and Rajapakse. But just 24 hours after the unsuccessful discussions between the President and Samaraweera, the latter went overseas and the TID raided Alles’ office and took into custody files and documents. Alles was also questioned.
Samaraweera who was in London heard of these unfolding developments and was furious.
Alles who was under a lot of pressure developed an allergy and other complications and entered Nawaloka Hospital for treatment. The TID however, even went to the hospital to question him further, putting him under much mental strain.
Last Wednesday, officials from the TID and the CID entered the hospital to arrest Alles following orders received from higher authorities.
News of Alles’s arrest spread like wildfire. The doctors however advised against taking Alles out of the hospital given his medical condition. Therefore, the Colombo chief magistrate had to be brought to the hospital to hear the case.
Upon hearing the news, Samaraweera rushed to the hospital. When he arrived in the room, several officers of the TID were preparing to arrest Alles.
After speaking to Alles, Samaraweera spoke to the police officers.
“Do you think this is a police state? Please keep in mind that this is not a police state and you cannot arrest people as you please. Also, it is a very low act for anyone to give such an order at a time like this. It is only in military states that people being treated in hospitals are surrounded and arrested.
“Also keep in mind one more thing – this order to arrest was given to you by DIG, CID Prathapasinghe. During Chandrika’s time he met me and asked to be appointed as the SLFP organiser of Kamburupitiya. I rejected it as he was not a suitable person to face an election. It is this reason that has made him hate me so much. That is why he is chasing after Sripathi and Tiran. But please repeat these words to him. He cannot play this game everyday and he cannot do it for long,” Samaraweera said.
The words uttered by Samaraweera to the TID officers in room 397 at the Nawaloka Hospital reached the higher authorities as well.
“I know the kind of things IGP Victor Perera has done. He comes on TV and speaks of fighting with Pirapaharan. This Victor Perera was the DIG in-charge of Chandrika’s security when she was President. After the bomb attack on Chandrika at Town Hall, this Victor Perera got so scared that he got himself a transfer. It is this man who now comes on TV and tells the media of fighting with the Tigers and gives these low orders,” Samaraweera went on to say.
Orders from higher authority
By this time, the TID officers received orders from higher authorities to somehow get rid of Samaraweera who was engaged in an argument. The officers then kindly requested Samaraweera to leave the room. When Samaraweera refused, the officers said, “Please sir, we are carrying out orders given to us by a higher authority. Sir, you do know that if you do not leave, it would also be a problem to us.”
“Yes, I know that. I did not tell all these things to you. I said these things for you to go and tell your superiors who gave this order. I will leave now because it would otherwise be a problem to you,” Samaraweera said before leaving the room.
Samaraweera then walked up to Alles and held his hands. “I will see you later Tiran. Don’t worry about anything, we are always there for you,” he said.
“Thank you very much. This is the token of appreciation this man has given for making him win. It’s Ok, I will bear this,” Alles said.
Message for Rajapakse
Moved by Alles’ words, Samaraweera left the room without another word. While descending the stairs at the hospital, Samaraweera took a call on his mobile to Moulana who during the last weeks tried to reconcile the differences between Samaraweera and Rajapakse.
“Alavi, I called you to ask you to tell the President that I thanked him for all he has done. I never imagined this man had such low qualities. He is a liar. On one side he calls me and tells me that he has stopped the letter calling for an explanation from me. A few hours later he sacks the Weligama Pradeshiya Sabha chairman who worked for me. Now he has got officers to surround Tiran’s room to arrest him. Alavi, keep one thing in mind. All these acts when one is in power cannot go on for long. There will be a day when all that comes to an end. Tell Mahinda Rajapakse that I said he cannot play this game for long,” Samaraweera said before disconnecting the line.
Facts behind Alles’ arrest
Two days before the arrest of Tiran Alles a letter was sent to IGP Victor Perera by Attorney at Law Neville Abeyratne which outlines the motives behind the TID investigations. We reproduce the letter without comment for it speaks for itself.
I write on the instruction of my client Mr. Tiran Alles of No 345/33, Kuruppu Lane, Colombo 8, who is presently receiving treatment at Nawaloka Hospital, Colombo.
I have been instructed by my client to state that you will recall that during the last three months, my client has at all times presented himself when required to make statements. My client has made statements on several occasions to you voluntarily and readily.
I have been instructed by my client to state that my client voluntarily made a visit to the TID for a meeting with SSP Wakishta on the 19th of April 2007.
I have been further instructed by my client to state that at no time between 30th March 2007 and 20th May 2007 was my client asked to make any statement.
I have been instructed by my client to state that my client may point out that it was in this period that high level negotiations were proceeding in order to induce Hon. Mangala Samaraweera to join the cabinet.
I have been instructed by my client to state that on 16th May 2007, Hon Mangala Samaraweera refused to join the cabinet.
I have been further instructed by my client to state the very next day (17th May 2007) a team of officials from the TID visited my client’s office in order to carry out investigations. They spent almost six hours in my client’s office.
I have been instructed by my client to state that on the following day (18th May 2007) my client’s accountant was called to the TID for questioning. That same evening my client was contacted by IP Abeysinghe and was requested to be present at the TID on the following day to give a statement.
I have instructed by my client to state that my client informed the TID that both his children were sitting important examinations (the son was doing Advanced Level and the daughter was doing Ordinary Level) and that the son was having high fever and was very worried about my client being summoned again. My client therefore, requested that he be allowed to make a statement on 21st Monday. This request however was not accepted and he was asked to make a statement on 20th May 2007 (Sunday). He was at the TID on this day for over four hours.
I have been instructed by my client to state that my client has always been a close associate of Hon Mangala Samaraweera.
I have been further instructed by my client to state that my client is being harassed due to a political fall out.
I have also been instructed by my client to state that my client is presently hospitalised at Nawaloka Hospital, Colombo. On 24th of May 2007, SSP Wakishta, CI Prasanna Alwis and two others had visited my client at the hospital. On 27th May 2007, SSP Wakishta and SSP Kapila Jayasekara had visited my client at the hospital. I am made to understand that my client had been receiving telephone calls practically everyday from the investigating offers inquiring as to whether he is still receiving treatment.
I have been instructed by my client to state that at all times it was indicated to you that my client was willing to make statements from hospital when he was well enough to do so. My client is ready and willing to make any statements from hospital at a time when he is well enough to do so.
I have been instructed by my client to state that you will appropriate that my client cannot be discharged from hospital without the consent of his medical advisors. My client is diagnosed to be having Angiooedema which is stress related where an attack can be fatal.
In these circumstances I have been instructed by my client to reiterate that my client is willing to make statements at my time to assist your so called investigation though my client does not accept your bona fides.
I have been instructed by my client to state that my client cannot, however leave the hospital as he is medically advised not to do so.
1. Deputy Inspector General,
Criminal Investigations Department, (CID)
4th floor, New Secretarial Building,
2. Deputy Inspector General,
Terrorist Investigation Department (TID)
Chaitiya Road, Colombo 1
3. Deputy Inspector General – Legal,
Police Headquarters, Colombo 1
4. SSP Wakishta,
Criminal Investigations Department, (CID)
4th floor, New Secretarial Building,