Pathmanathan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan who is also known as
KP who had been in charge of arms procurement and foreign
enterprises of the vanquished LTTE has again become a main
moot point in political circles these days.
KP who was
arrested in Malaysia about three months ago is now being
held by security authorities under tight security. Vital
information relating to the LTTE’s international links, its
business ventures and foreign assets is being ferreted out
of him by CID sleuths who are interrogating him.
Security authorities were able to arrest a former Eastern
province military leader Ram and several other hardcore
terrorists thanks to information obtained during the
KP was out of limelight for sometime and as a result
nothing was reported about him in the Press either. However,
KP came back into public focus when Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe made a serious allegation against President
Mahinda Rajapaksa while making a reference to KP during his
speech at the `Nidahase Vedikawa’ (‘Freedom’s Forum’) held
in Matara recently. This was a personal attack which went
beyond the political dimensions.
Following is an excerpt from the speech made by Ranil
Wickremesinghe as reported by The Daily Lankadeepa on
December 3, Thursday.
“President Mahinda Rajapaksa should take immediate action to
transfer to the public ownership of all foreign enterprises
and monies lying to the credit of the LTTE in foregn bank
accounts uncovered so far.
“I challenge President Rajapaksa to disclose to the public,
information relating to all foreign monies and assets of the
LTTE recovered by the government
“People question as to what has become of the monies and
the enterprises held by the LTTE. Despite KP being in the
custody of the authorities for about three months, nobody
seems to know what has become of his foreign assets and
monies. What happened to the massive amount of money
recovered from the possession of the LTTE? Why cannot these
monies be repatriated? These monies belong to the people.
“Why doesn’t the government take legal action against KP? KP
is being held in a posh residence under security providing
him with super foods and drinks. The government has provided
opportunities for him to freely meet his friends, girl
friends in particular.
“Now that KP is in the custody of security authorities,
who is now collecting the turnovers from the LTTE’s foreign
business establishments such as fuel filling stations? Have
the massive proceeds from all these business ventures been
transferred to some bank account held by KP? If so, what is
the bank that holds this account? Is this massive amount of
money going into the hands of a third party through KP?
“In Los Angeles itself there are three fuel filling stations
belonging to the LTTE. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa knows that. All
are silent about the LTTE’s foreign businesses, monies and
other assets which have already been bared. (Meanwhile) KP
‘lives’ in royal comfort!
“What would a genuine a Central Bank Governor or a
Secretary to the General Secretary do in a situation like
this is to request for the immediate release of the massive
amount of monies recovered from the LTTE to meet the
financial commitments of the country. But these two are
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making serious
allegations against the government. According to The
Lankadeepa report also had said: “This government which
calls itself `patriotic’ has filled the family coffers with
the massive amount of money which once belonged to the LTTE,
without handing it over to the general treasury to utilise
it to provide some relief to the people.”
He had added: “ I am making the charge that they had
finally split up in equal portions the booty seized from the
LTTE with KP (Kumaran Pathmanathan) whom they called the
Incidentally, on the day Ranil Wickremesinghe made these
serious statements, national English daily had reported that
three ships belonging to the LTTE, registered under KP’s
name which had been confiscated by the government, were
being brought to the country. The same news story said that
the AG was taking action to confiscate deposits in 600 bank
accounts held by the LTTE under KP’s name.
Government spokesman for National Defence Keheliya
Rambukwella disclosed at a media briefing held last
Wednesday that the government is pursuing action to
confiscate all LTTE assets held in foreign countries
following information revealed by KP now held in government
custody. Minister Rambukwella explained that it is no easy
task to confiscate the LTTE funds held in bank deposits
abroad as most banks are not willing to divulge information
about the bank accounts of their customers. “However, the AG
is pursuing action in this regard. Government has succeeded
in getting repatriated three of the 10 ships owned by the
LTTE,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj had stated in his
website that the Sri Lankan government is trying to obtain
KP’s signature under duress to secure the transfer of the
LTTE assets to itself, but the surviving LTTE leaders such
as Rudrakumaran and Thethiwan as well as the Tamil diaspora
are keeping quiet.
Kumaran Pathmanathan widely known as KP is the only LTTE
leader privy to assets and business ventures of the
international LTTE network. It has transpired that the LTTE
has been maintaining over 1,500 accounts in banks in various
countries and 600 of them are registered under KP’s name.
KP was arrested only about three months ago. Even a person
with a little bit of knowledge about the law would
understand that investigations into LTTE assets scattered
over far-flung parts of the world cannot be wrapped up in
such a brief period.
Ranil’s insinuations only for Sinhala readers?
One cannot expect Ranil Wickremesinghe to be blind to the
truth, when he makes his allegations against the government
and the President. His statements only show that he is
pursuing `hate’ politics. He is obviously slinging mud at
the government, possibly because he has got no ammunition to
use against the government from a policy platform.
Was Ranil Wickremesinghe not insinuating by the
statements he made during his recent speech in Matara that
KP has been induced by providing him with every imaginable
comfort to share with the Rajapaksa family the LTTE assets
and their monies held in foreign bank accounts?
Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to put across the message
that the Rajapaksa family is amassing wealth through illegal
means and family bandysm is gaining ground. Ordinary people
may believe his allegations as they are coming from the
leader of the opposition, assuming, of course, that he has
got his facts right. However, Ranil Wickremesinghe does not
make this type of accusations at gatherings of the upper
middle class which mostly consists of English-educated
people. The UNP Media Unit also makes it a point to send his
speeches containing this type of accusations only to the
Sinhala Press. Because they think that Sinhala-reading
public would believe these accusations highlighted in full
page coverage. They know there is no purpose in getting
their allegations published in English newspapers because
they know that the English readers would take such
allegations with a pinch of salt.
Ranil’s previous allegations
Readers may recall that Ranil Wickremesinghe on a previous
occasion made a big noise saying that the Central Bank was
planning to sell part of its gold reserve to a company in
Dubai. But such a transaction never took place. However,
neither the UNP nor any pro-UNP economist cared to make any
comment when the government recently purchased 10 tons of
gold from the IMF.
Who purchased the previous premises of the Australian
Addressing the recent Sirikotha ceremony held to mark the
presentation of UNP membership to Wijedasa Rajapaksha, Ranil
Wickremesinghe paid a backhanded compliment to the newcomer
to the party fold, saying that the latter is not the type
who would purchase a prime land in the city like the
premises where the Australian High Commission was earlier
located. Was he not saying by innuendo that this property
was purchased by the Rajapaksa family? The fact that certain
businessman had purchased this property is no secret to the
entire country, because this transaction received wide
publicity in the Press. However, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s
attempt was to foist this transaction too on President
Transfer of Apollo hospital ownership
Another rumour making rounds in the country these days is
that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had purchased the
Apollo Hospital in Colombo. SMS messages and websites had
added wings to this rumour.
The Apollo Hospital once belonged to Sri Lanka Insurance
Corporation owned by Harry Jayawardena. However, the
government took over the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation
along with its Apollo Hospital following a court decision.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is the Chairman of the new Board of
Directors appointed following the take over. The UNP has
distorted this reality to sling mud at the government.
Meanwhile, the UNP propaganda machine has churned out
another rumour that the Rajapaksa family has purchased a
certain motor car manufacturing company
The objective of the UNP is obviously to create a public
opinion that the government is fostering family bandysm
while resorting to exploiting the state property to amass
They are taking the advantage of the gullibility of some
Flashback to UNP’s 1977 campaign
The UNP carried out a similar smear campaign in 1977. They
distributed a booklet of cartoons called `Family Tree’ to
show that Prime Minister Sirimavo Banadaranaike had
appointed persons from her family circle to high positions
under her government. The UNP also had mobilised rumour
mongers too throughout the country to slander that
The UNP had mobilised such rumour mongering teams in the
recent past too. It is making use of SMS messages and
several websites as well to slander the government. These
websites for example, carry stories to say that there are
clashes between the government and security forces
commanders, some Minister have turned against the President
and they are waiting for the opportune moment to cross over
to the opposition. These websites have been attacking even
anti-Ranil UNP rebels like S.B.Dissanayake, Lakshman
Seneviratne, Johnston Fernando, Sajith Premadasa and Ms.
President alive to slander campaign
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is quite alive to the slander
campaign being carried out by the UNP-led opposition and the
media sympathetic to them. Last week the President hosted a
party to heads of media institutions and war correspondents
at Colombo Hilton. Senior Presidential Advisor Basil
Rajapaksa, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Secretary to
the President Lalith Weeratunga too participated. During the
cordial chat he had with the journalists, the President
referred to the smear campaign being mounted by the
Opposition against him. He said: “Whenever they happen to
see a large coconut plantation, they would say, Rajapaksas
have bought this now.” They have been saying Gotabhaya
bought the Apollo Hospital and Chamal had bought the
Intercontinental. They would say we have bought the Hotel
Ranmal, Matara Lalitha Hotel, Chandrika’s Colombo bungalow
and half what Kotelawala had inherited. They set the rumors
afloat in buses and trains. They are also using SMS messages
and e-mail to spread their vicious rumours. These are
The two main candidates kick off their campaigns
Nominations for Presidential election are due to close on
December 17. Meanwhile, the two main candidates, President
Mahinda Rajapaksa and the common opposition candidate
General Sarath Fonseka have already unofficially kicked off
their election propaganda campaigns.
President Rajapaksa last Monday paid homage to Jaya Sri Maha
Bodhi and obtained the blessings of the Maha Sangha.
Common opposition candidate General Fonseka too launched his
campaign after paying homage to Sri Dalada and calling on
the Mahanayake Theras of Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters.
The election campaign of President Rajapaksa got underway on
November 24 with the UPFA activists distributing propaganda
leaflets in all cities and main towns in the country. The
propaganda leaflets are still being distributed to people at
district and village levels.
JVP takes over flank of General’s propaganda campaign
The JVP has already come to the forefront of the propaganda
campaign of General Fonseka putting up all over the country
a large poster which reads: `Rata Rekumata SF Meheyuma
Sudanam’ ( SF operation to protect the country is ready).
They also held a public rally in support of General Fonseka
at Hyde Park on November 30.
Tamil, Muslim parties to decide on their role
The SLMC held a special convention of the party at
Samanthurai last Sunday to decide on their stand in regard
to the Presidential election. A proposal that came up at the
convention to support the candidature of the common
opposition candidate General Fonseka triggered a heated
discussion with many taking the floor to argue for and
against it. The members later decided to leave the party’s
decision to the discretion of the party leader. Rauff
Hakeem.has accordingly, decided to back the common
opposition candidate General Fonseka.
However, the Tamil parties in the North are still in a state
of indecision over their role at the Presidential election.
PLOTE leader D. Sitharthan has reportedly decided to throw
in their lot with President Rajapaksa.
The TNA which is still mulling over their stand is
reportedly vacillating between three main options which have
emerged from protracted discussions. One of them is a
proposal to field a common Tamil candidate. Another group
opposed to this proposal, according to informed sources,
argues that the General and the President are really the two
sides of the same coin and they should be looked on as
enemies of the Tamil people. The best option according to
this group is boycotting the election without backing either
candidate. There is still another group within the TNA which
says that they should join forces with President Rajapaksa
at this election. Suresh Premachandran is the protagonist of
the proposal that the TNA field a candidate of their own.
“We hope to arrive at a hard decision by next Tuesday,” a
TNA Parliamentarian said.
Meanwhile, both the UPFA and the UNF are due to hold talks
with the TNA next week to woo their support.
The Democratic People’s Front has decided to extend
conditional support to the common opposition candidate, says
its leader Mano Ganesan
Controversial statements by the General
Certain statements General Fonseka made while fielding
questions by journalists at his last Sunday’s maiden Press
briefing have become hotly debated talking points in
political circles now.
For example, his statement that terrorism could not be
successfully combated despite the commitment of successive
Heads of State due to shortcomings in the armed forces at
particular times has created a stir both in military and
political circles. Those taking exception to this statement
point out that it was former President J.R.Jayewardene who
ordered a halt to the decisive Wadamaratchi operation,
giving in to pressures from India and the armed forces
should not be faulted for this setback. They also remind
General Fonseka that when he was the Jaffna commander in
2000 he had to confine the troops to camps on orders from
former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Replying to a question by a journalist, General Fonseka
told the Sunday’ s briefing that he proposed to implement
the economic policies of the UNF. And now National Freedom
Front leader Wimal Weerawansa asks the JVP leaders to tell
the country their reaction to this statement given the JVP’s
lead role in the General’s election campaign. The JVP
leaders, however, had studiously avoided making any
reference to General Fonseka’s statement at their propaganda
rally last Monday and at the media briefings held later.
Both the UNF and the JVP are reportedly not happy with
General Fonseka’s showing at his maiden Press briefing held
at Hotel Jaic Hilton last Sunday.
Last Saturday, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tissa Attanayake,
Rauff Hakeem and Mangala Samaraweera who called on General
Fonseka at his office, had briefed him on what he should
tell the media and how he should field questions by
journalists. Being aware of the General’s temper, his
political mentors had advised him to keep his cool under all
circumstances. Though the General had faithfully followed
most instructions, they are not satisfied with the way he
had answered certain questions. Therefore, the UNF and JVP
leaders Ranil, Anura Kumara, Mangala and Hakeem have decided
to restrict the General’s media briefings to 45 minutes and
his public speeches to 10 minutes.
Joint UNP-JVP propaganda rallies
According to UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, the UNF
and the JVP have decided to hold 15 joint propaganda rallies
in support of General Fonseka. In addition, the UNF and the
JVP will hold a series of separate propaganda rallies. The
UNF and the JVP also have decided to coordinate their
However, JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kantha said last week, “We
have no truck with the UNP.
All our dealings are with General Fonseka.”
It is no secret that India is anxiously monitoring the
political developments here ever since General Fonseka’s
entry into the fray, given the possibility of political
changes taking place here making a ripple effect on that
country. According to diplomatic sources, India is closely
studying the political developments taking place here in the
wake of two political parties poles apart ideologically
coming together to sponsor a newcomer like General Sarath
Fonseka, say diplomatic sources.
Meanwhile, General Fonseka on a request by the Indian
government left for New Delhi last Wednesday night. India’s
High Commissioner in Colombo Ashok Kanth who conveyed the
message of the Indian government flew to New Delhi the
following day. General Fonseka was due to meet several top
Indian officials like India’s National Defence Advisor
M.K.Narayanan during his visit. He was to visit Buddha Gaya
as well. The General was due back home yesterday. Details
relating to his sudden visit to New Delhi were not available
at the time of writing this column.
Ranil having second thoughts about premiership?
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake now says that his
party leader Ranil Wickrtemesinghe will not accept the
Premiership of a caretaker government to be formed in the
event of General Fonseka winning the Presidential election.
Ranil had said earlier that he would be the Prime Minister
in the caretaker government to be formed after General
Fonseka’s victory. He has had second thoughts following
strong objections made by several JVP leaders including Lal
Kantha to the UNP leader’s publicly announced intention.
According to Tissa Attanayake, Ranil Wickremesinghe will
automatically become the Prime Minister following a general
Parliamentary election. as he will certainly command the
majority in Parliament. Meanwhile, Anura Kumara Dissanayake
had told media that his party would have no objection to
appointing the leader of the party with a majority of seats
in Parliament as the Prime Minister. General Fonseka had
announced that he would offer Ministerial portfolios to both
JVP and the TNA in a government he would form after being