Behind Closed Doors:
Strange figures at rallies in Colombo, Matara ...
1990 Police massacre commemorated?
It was on June 12, 1990, that over 600 police officers were massacred
in the Eastern Province following a horrific turn of events. The
incident was widely dubbed by many analysts as one of the gravest crimes
during the 30-year-long war in Sri Lanka. Fingers were pointed at the
then LTTE military leader in the North for this cold-blooded massacre.
In an interesting turn of events, on the day of the 25th
commemoration of this massacre, a rally was held in Matara by a group of
die-hard patriots who happened to be Rajapaksa supporters. The speeches
at the rally were characterised with patriotic rhetoric and the speakers
stressed the importance of defeating the present Government which,
according to them, was gravitating towards the pro-LTTE diaspora
jeopardising the hard-earned war victory. At the forefront of the rally
was Karuna Amman who was no stranger to people in the Eastern province
at the height of the Eelam war.
Probably, that's why ex-'terrorist' Karuna opted to take part in the
25th commemoration of the massacre of 600 policemen.
There was a Minister from the hill country who headed a ministry near
Battaramulla, in the vicinity of the Diyawanna complex. Since 'serving
the family' became the hallmark of the country's administration over the
past 10 years, the minister too appointed one of his sisters to a top
post in his ministry. At the same time, the Minister also secured a
diplomatic posting for his sister as he thought she was too competent to
stick to one position. So, this strange sister handled two important
positions simultaneously, switching roles quite effectively.
Apart from this family-serving tradition, the minister also learnt
another important lesson from the top echelons of the regime of that
time. Just before the last Presidential election, his ministry had
purchased stationery worth Rs. 9 million for the ministry. It was later
revealed that the actual value of the stationery stood at Rs. 4 million
and the rest of the money disappeared into thin air!
And today, this politico is at the forefront of the "Bring Back
Mahinda" campaign - where else?
The much-talked-about Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division
(FCID) is on the verge of becoming homeless.
The FCID, which is now at the centre of a controversy over its
legality, occupies a building at Carlwill place, Colombo 3. The spacious
building, which was previously the office of senior ministers, is owned
by a businessman in Colombo.Despite the agreement between the two
parties, the businessman has now asked for the building, plunging the
Police FCID into a difficult situation. Although the circumstances
leading to the businessman's request are not clear, the development had
taken place against a backdrop where the FCID expedited investigations
on several top figures of the previous regime.Of course there are dots
and they can be connected.
Strangers in the Park
A few hours before the special Cabinet meeting last Monday, President
Maithripala Sirisena chaired a public meeting at the Vihara Maha Devi
Park to draw public support for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
It looked as if the meeting was organised by the United People's Freedom
Alliance of which President Sirisena is the Chairman.
Some interesting figures took part in this meeting much to the
surprise of the crowd gathered at the park. Among them was MP Duminda
Silva who, at one point, was the Monitoring MP of the Defence Ministry
under its all-powerful Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Silva was under
scrutiny in the recent past due to various allegations and it appeared
as if he had suddenly become a staunch supporter of electoral reforms
and democratic governance. It was clear that some UPFA seniors were not
pleased with Silva's presence at the meeting and they did not give him
any attention at all.
Another interesting person who was seen hovering at the Vihara Maha
Devi Park was businessman A.S.P. Liyanage, the man who offered his
mansion to the former President out of sheer compassion. He changed his
mind after he was questioned by the CID and today he has turned himself
into a die-hard campaigner for the 20th Amendment.
Udaya Seneviratne, former Secretary of Highways and Investment
Promotions Ministry who was removed from office over a controversial
Cabinet paper and other alleged shortcomings on his part, had written a
letter to the Secretary to the President, explaining his side of the
story. The former Secretary had told the Secretary to the President it
was through the Sunday Observer that he got to know the alleged
"offences"? he had 'committed'. Seneviratne, in his letter, had said he
was not even aware of the allegations levelled against him and he did
not have any connection with the controversial Cabinet paper about a
monorail project? in Colombo.
That mono-rail project
A monorail, as the name itself indicates, is a mode of transport that
should come under the purview of the Ministry of Transport. It never was
a subject that came under the purview of the Ministry of Highways and
Investment Promotions. If it was in a dossier the Ministers received,
they should have had the wisdom to properly investigate how, from where
and by whom it was originated rather than making the Ministry Secretary
responsible for the same, as the Secretary's letter says. Seneviratne
also charges that an attempt had been made to portray him as a Rajapaksa
loyalist although he has no special allegiance to the former President.
"What is important here is that the Secretary can never submit a
Cabinet paper on his own if it is not signed by the Minister. It is
regretted that both the Minister and his deputy had not given due
consideration to these facts when blaming their Secretary,"?Seneviratne
While categorically denying claims of not following financial
instructions issued by the Minister, the former Secretary said he
followed proper financial procedures in the disbursement of funds.The
former Secretary's letter to the President has also been copied to the
Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion and his deputy. Informed
sources at the Ministry told the Sunday Observer on Friday that the
Ministry was formulating a response to the former Secretary's letter.