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Reports Real Situation of Sri Lanka : War and Crime By Government and Paramilitary Groups , About Mahinda and Familly, About LTTE ,the problems faced by innocents in Sri Lanka

Bus Blast in Mountalvenia : Tit for Tat ;the Language Sinhalease can understand

“Go army Go” this is the slogan said by most of the Sinhala people nowadays to the sri lankan soldiers , But really they dont know what they are doing other than fighting with LTTE,if they fight with LTTE and destroy them that is acceptable as their mission,but when they kill innocent definitely not acceptable .

22nd of February 2008 , 8 Tamil civilians including children,babies killed by Sri Lankan Areal attacks at Punerian ,Sri Lanka. Within the next 24 Hours a Bus Bomb blasted and injured 18 people in Government controlled area in colombo.

The majority people believe the government media and they believe that government never kill innocent Tamils and killing only LTTE in the war front. in this basis here the news items from various sources given on the Tit for Tat happened this week.

 Being and innocent is the offense !(killed kids in Kilinochi,Poonerian)

slaf_attack_kiraagnchi_01_66914_445.jpg

8 civilians killed in SLAF bombardment in Poonakari, children among victims

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2008, 05:37 GMT]
Eight civilians including a 6-month-old infant, a 4-year-old boy, their mother, a 8-year-old girl and an English teacher were killed, 14 including four children and another teacher were wounded in a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) aerial bombardment of a civilian settlement at Kiraagnchi in the Poonakari division of Ki’linochchi district Friday at 8:10 a.m. Three houses were fully destroyed and many houses have sustained damage in the indiscriminate aerial bombardment in which more than 20 bombs were dropped by four bombers. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan ministry of defence in Colombo claimed that the SLAF had attacked “an inland sea tiger base” at Kiraagnchi.

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After this incident only the bus bob blasted in Colombo Area !  The strongest message the Tiger rebels wanted to tell the government that”if you kill people in our area you will suffer the same as you do on this on ethnic view !.

Colombo incident

Eighteen civilians were injured in a bomb blast inside a bus in Colombo Mount Laviniya Saturday around 10:45 a.m. Most of the victims were bystanders. The passengers had a providential escape as a woman traveler alerted the conductor and the driver of the bus about an unattended parcel underneath a seat in the Colombo bound bus coming frommain1pic1.jpg. The explosion took place after the passengers have got off the bus and while the driver was taking it to a safe location, police said. The blast in Colombo has taken place a day after the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) aerial bombardment on civilians in Vanni took the lives of 8 and injured 14, which included many children.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Top news | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eelam War IV spreads far and wide : Top Featured news from Iqbal Athas

(From Sunday Times,Sri Lanka)

  • Bus travellers and other vehicle users face constant threat, parents anxious about children
  • Deadlines change and goal-posts shift as LTTE reportedly replenishes stocks
  • Troops make headway on two northern fronts but Tigers carry out diversionary attacks

By Iqbal Athas

Last week’s The Sunday Times photo of snow laden Oslo taken from the ski resort of Holmenkollen.

The idyllic snow covered Holmenkollen Park Hotel outside Norway’s capital of Oslo, where the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) once agreed in December 2002 to explore a federal structure to end the ethnic conflict, formed the setting.

The temperatures outside dropped to below zero levels. A few days ago, inside a heated discussion room, the spotlight turned to Sri Lanka and the raging Eelam War IV. A small group of media personnel from different countries had gathered to plan a bigger event, the Global Inter Media Dialogue (GIMD) in Indonesia later this year. I was one among them.

Taking centre-stage during the planning session was the subject of reporting conflict. That naturally turned the focus on the ongoing war in Sri Lanka and the role of the media. It centred not only on the media’s coverage of the war but all its related issues including the many constraints in projecting a correct picture. More on these issues will unfold when the bigger event, the GIMD, takes place. Journalists worldwide including some leading heavy weights in the profession are billed to be present.

My return to Sri Lanka was eventful for only one reason – the dawn of a new and striking reality. Having convinced alert Customs officials that I had nothing dutiable to declare, it took me little time to get into a car to begin my journey home. It was smooth until I arrived at an ad hoc Police checkpoint in the dual carriageway just ahead of Kirullapone town. It was soon after midnight. On either side of the road, there were some twenty police officers including Inspectors and Sub Inspectors, carrying both assault rifles and pistols. Some wore helmets and ammunition pouches across their chests.

There a police officer first conducted an identity check. I had produced my passport. He took a close look at it and examined the counterfoil of the air ticket that lay within. Thereafter, they wanted to examine my baggage. It was dark and I could not see the combination lock. There was no torch light. I had to wait for a few minutes until one of them found one. It was blinking. The battery in it had evidently given better service and seemed on its last stage. My bags were subjected to scrutiny, item by item. Folded shirts and suits were stretched to see whether anything was concealed within. A bag containing toiletries was opened and a police officer then shook a small can of shaving foam, much the same way a bartender would a cocktail mixer. It made no difference. “What country you are returning from,” I was queried.

From Scandinavia, I replied. The police constable, I felt, was puzzled. Perhaps he had not heard it before. He shook his head and waved his right hand. It was to signal that I could leave. When I entered the car, I realised another police officer had gone to work checking my brief case that was in the back seat. This was whilst I was outside watching my bags being checked. Some documents were on the seat and others including a camera were on the floor. As I prepared to leave, I saw the belongings of others being checked thoroughly after their vehicles were stopped. There was at least another who had to open a large suitcase for detailed examination.

An Army soldier points to a guerrilla gun position in an area re-captured in the Mannar sector. Photo: Saman Kariyawasam

Relating this episode is by no means to complain about the Police or the conduct of the men involved in the search. They were certainly not rude. I had heard even before my return that a group of police officers including an Inspector who staffed a checkpoint at Medawachchiya were interdicted. This was for their alleged failure to check a vehicle. It had reportedly helped guerrillas smuggle suicide jackets to the south. One such jacket had been detected in a van at Wattala. During inquiries it had transpired that the van had come past Medawachchiya.

Later, I learnt from a senior police official that most of the personnel deployed at checkpoints were from the outstations and were not experienced. “They do not want to take chances and open themselves for disciplinary action,” he said. The newer measures came in after the guerrillas exploded a claymore mine in Ja-ela on January 2 killing non-cabinet rank Minister for Nation Building, D.M. Dassanayake.

Yet, the duty the policemen, home guards and troops perform has become an essential pre-requisite to prevent major Tiger guerrilla attacks in the City of Colombo or the immediate suburbs. The fact that a large concentration of Police and Home Guards has saturated military strength is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the guerrillas cannot mount major attacks very easily. There is an armed man (or even a woman) at practically every junction or intersection. In most places, one could hardly move a few metres without encountering them.

No doubt, this saturation of armed men and women means the deployment of a bigger strength. Sustaining them involves higher financial commitment. They would keep increasing as more and more areas require enhanced security. Most importantly, those deployed would have to maintain a higher level of alert at all times.

All this has spawned a new ground reality. The ongoing Eelam War IV has assumed a more fearsome character absent during the previous phases. Most Sri Lankans are forced to feel the effect of the war than anytime before. It is not only when travelling on the road, particularly in buses. Parents live in trepidation till children who leave home for school return.

There is anxiety among families when their breadwinners delay returning home. On days when guerrilla bomb explosions or attacks are reported, Police stations as well as media outlets are deluged more with telephone calls seeking information. On an average, a civilian at least has one encounter with a checkpoint if they set out on the road, be it in the city of Colombo or most other areas.

That is the inevitability of waging Eelam War IV. The fact that such measures would enhance as the war heats up has to be accepted. In the city and the suburbs, this grim reality is underscored by the recent arrest of a group of suspected Tiger guerrillas including sectional leaders and handlers. Some of the important ones among them have confessed there is a sizeable presence of guerrilla cadres in the greater Colombo area but continued military and police action has put them in disarray. At least some of them had fled to the hill country after communication links were disrupted. Others, Police sources say, have gone underground. But, Police warn that their return to violent activity was a matter of time.

It is in this backdrop that the Security Forces are fighting the Tiger guerrillas in the Wanni on different fronts. In the recent weeks, battles have been raging largely in two sectors – the general area of Mannar and north of Janakapura in Weli Oya. In the general area north of Mannar, troops are advancing into guerrilla-dominated territory on two different fronts. In one, the thrust is east of the Giant’s Tank, where they have extended their defended localities considerably by seizing new ground.

This has brought under their control the villages of Maruthankulam, Udhayanthankulam and Villattikulam. Earlier, troops moved into Periyathampanai after the guerrillas beat a retreat. Troops have now come closer to their goal – seizing areas in and around the sacred Madhu church. A high-ranking Army source in Mannar said yesterday troops were less than three kilometres from the area but declined to say when they hope to re-capture them.

The second thrust by troops in Mannar is from west of the Giant’s Tank. Here, troops have extended their defended localities stretching from the western coast to near the tank. The advance in this sector is to move towards the coastal village of Vidattaltivu where a Sea Tiger base is located. As reported earlier, this base has assumed greater significance after the military seized control of the coastal village of Silavathurai, south of Mannar. Since then, the guerrillas from Vidattaltivu are carrying out smuggling of both military and medical supplies from safe houses in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka.

Military offensives in the Mannar area against guerrillas began on July 2, last year. Army sources in Mannar say that compared to previous phases of the Eelam War, close quarter confrontations have been relatively less. There has been constant firing of artillery, mortar and improvised shells, the source added. This is in addition to advancing troops facing heavy minefields.

The thrust northwards from Janakapura (in the Weli Oya sector) began on January 7, this year. Weeks later more troops were deployed to seize terrain and extend the defended localities situated north-east of Ethavetunuwewa and westwards from the coastal fishing village of Kokkutuduwai. However, though they are extents “no man’s land”, they had been heavily mined. Yet, the seizure of these areas gives the troops a greater advantage for their onward movement to terrain south of the lagoons at Thannimuruppu and Nayaru. The guerrilla strongholds in Mullaitivu lay further northwards.

In the recent confrontations in this sector, Army sources say, groups of female cadres had been deployed to stall the advance of troops. “It appears that they are newly recruited female cadres. Troops were able to break through cordons placed by them in limited confrontations,” the sources added. Besides the two major sectors of battles in Mannar and Weli Oya, troops are also carrying out sporadic southward incursions from locations astride the Muhamalai defence lines. It stretches from Kilali in the West to Nagerkovil in the north and is located on the thin isthmus that links the Jaffna peninsula to mainland Sri Lanka. After a major offensive to move southwards in November, last year, no major southerly offensive has been launched to seize guerrilla territory.

There are fears in the security establishment that the guerrillas may continue to carry out attacks outside the battle areas of the North. This is to take the pressure off and force the authorities to re-deploy troops and police elsewhere. The latest such incident took place on Navam Poya last Wednesday. Three soldiers, who were part of a route clearing patrol, were shot dead at Dambakotte on the Kataragama-Buttala Road. The village is located near Galge, the scene of an earlier attack that wounded five soldiers on patrol. (Visit our political commentary)

Since carrying out a claymore mine attack on a bus near Buttala, killing 27 civilians and injuring 63 on January 16, a group of guerrillas have been responsible for destabilising this part of the Deep South. The next day they shot dead five farmers at Okkampitiya. Later, ten more civilians were killed in two separate incidents near Tanamalwila. Wednesday’s incident is further confirmation that the guerrilla group responsible for the string of attacks has still not been neutralised. Another major search operation has got under way to track them down. Similar operations previously did not produce results.

This is amidst fears that possible attacks in other villages, following the same pattern, would only cause further destabilising effects. This may in addition force the authorities to raise more civilian militias in addition to deploying more troops and police. Furthermore, reports also speak of threats to Sinhala villages facing areas dominated by the guerrillas. They had become even more vulnerable now.

There is also growing concern over more attacks on civilians. Yesterday, a guerrilla attempt to trigger off an explosion inside a bus to cause civilian casualties was thwarted by the alertness of a passenger who noticed a large parcel in the rear seat of a private bus and alerted fellow travellers and the crew. All of them alighted hurriedly and later alerted the police. However, before they could arrive, the bomb exploded causing heavy damage to the bus. Minor injuries were caused to some 18 passers by. They were treated at the Kalubowila Hospital.

The incident came barely 24 hours after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) declared in a statement that eight civilians including three children were killed during an air raid at Pooneryn on Friday. The Tamilnet web site posted photographs of the reported casualties including images of dead children.

The incident lays bare a fact which has been often pointed out. The Tiger guerrilla capability to carry out attacks in the City of Colombo or the suburbs still remains and could be put together at short notice. Even if a heavy saturation of police, troops and home guards have denied the guerrillas the possibility of staging major attacks, placing bombs in a bus, it has become clear, is still possible. Thus, the mostly less privileged sections of Sri Lankan society who use pubic transport are more vulnerable.

Detailed reporting of facts or comments on some aspects relating to this, or on the fighting in the Wanni region is not possible due to serious constraints. However, two important aspects could be briefly summarised. One is the belief in the intelligence community that the guerrillas have succeeded in replenishing stocks of military hardware in the first week of February.

The other is the shifting of goal posts, or the deadline set to finish the Tiger guerrillas militarily. Both political and military leaders said the guerrillas would be “extinct” by the end of this year. Now, some of them say it would only be from 2009. Thus, such forecasts are no different to previous assertions by political and military leaders who made headlines with their deadlines. All this means there will be more war. And that means more pressure on the Sri Lankans. They will have to remain more vigilant as the vast majority of them continue to live in mortal fear.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Killings in Sri Lanka :Latest | 1 Comment

Mano Ganesan and The Government ::War for Security ;Governments Dirty Play !

“My life is in further turmoil” – Ganesan Western People’s Front Leader, Parliamentarian Mano Ganesan yesterday lashed out at the government and law enforcement authorities, charging that they were putting his life in further turmoil in an obvious act of vengeance owing to his campaign against the government over its human right violations.

Ganesan, who is also the convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission, also complained about the alleged injustice meted out to him when he met with the visiting Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) delegation last morning.

“The IPU delegation led by Chief Senator Sharon Carstairs, PC, was informed of the government’s half-hearted attitude towards providing security to Ganesan,” the WPF office said in a statement.

The IPU was appraised that Ganesan was provided with eight security personnel and a back-up vehicle following the interim order of the Court of Appeal.

“However the back-up security vehicle is defective and not roadworthy. The Police driver of this vehicle cannot drive the vehicle beyond the speed limits of 40 kmph as it becomes uncontrollable. This has put Ganesan’s security into further turmoil instead of being an improvement, as directed by court. It illustrates the government’s ill response to this issue. The government’s vengeance is due to Ganesan’s human rights campaign,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the CMC Convener in a letter addressed to Inspector General of Police Victor Perera requested a vehicle that is roadworthy. Ganesan is presently given a ‘Trooper’ vehicle, which he states cannot be driven at speeds over 40 kmph.

“The rear door locks are defective and cannot be opened easily, let alone in an emergency. The side windows through which the security personnel may use their weapons during an emergency cannot be opened. The brakes and horn are defective.

“The speed limit stipulated by law within the city is 56 kmph and other is 72 kmph. This vehicle is well under the normal speed limits. Due to this reason I had to totally stop or bring down the speed of my vehicle so that the back-up vehicle could follow mine. Today, while travelling from Parliament, we experienced a traffic jam due to this ‘slow procession’ of two vehicles, one after the other.

“I trust that you as the Chief of Police and first respondent will agree with me that this slow motion is not security friendly but very dangerous. Therefore this state of affairs has put me into a more vulnerable situation instead of providing more protection with added, enhanced security,” his letter to the IGP stated.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Killings in Sri Lanka :Latest | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mahinda (Rajapakse )’connection’ and a multi million dollar deal

Mahinda ;the culprit

Damning documents and details have emerged to prove that the government has yet again moved to place the interests of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s family before the state and the public, in a well thought out move to persuade state telecom operator, SLT to shell out millions of rupees to yet another family company.

The shocking details will show that the family company was set up for the specific purpose of securing a multi-million dollar deal with SLT while withholding vital approvals from SLT to force it to go into business with the Rajapakse family business.

If ‘Helping Hambantota’ was the Rajapakse family’s proverbial baby’s first steps into the world of nepotism and family corruption, the facts exposed on this page show that the President’s kin are long past crawling: they are now fit to run a marathon. And it shows that the ‘Helping Hambantota’ scandal has not brought a blush of shame to the collective cheeks of the Rajapakse family.

‘Help yourself while the spoon is in your hand,’ it appears has become the motto of the Rajapakse administration.

Here are the facts.

The board of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) of which the government has a majority stake, in its attempt to enter the WiMax broadband internet market, is this week slated to finalise the purchase of a 40% stake in privately owned Sky Network (Pvt) Ltd. The man behind Sky Network is none other than the nephew of President Rajapakse, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse, Senior Presidential Advisor, Basil Rajapakse and Ports and Aviation Minister, Chamal Rajapakse. That man is their sister’s son, Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi.

The decision has come following repeated requests from SLT to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to issue WiMax frequencies to the state telecom giant. SLT’s application to the TRC for Wi-fi frequencies has been collecting dust at the commission for years now, whilst private operators, Dialog Telekom and Suntel have been granted frequencies and moved full speed ahead with their operations.

Application on hold

SLT applied for WiMax frequencies around two years ago, along with the other major mobile operators. Senior SLT officials have told The Sunday Leader that despite repeated reminders and requests the TRC never acted on the SLT WiMax request, despite serving other operators and even new entrants to the field.

Whilst waiting for the TRC to authorise its access to WiMax frequencies, SLT conducted the necessary field trials to launch the new broadband service. But alas, as of June 2007, SLT had still not heard anything positive from the TRC, and with competitors Dialog and Suntel moving rapidly to bring their service offerings to the market, the state dominated company was once again on the verge of missing the bus.

Then came the messiah, brought to SLT’s board of directors by Board Paper PLC/T/65/2007 tabled on June 29, 2007 by Japanese CEO, Shoji Takahashi and government appointed Chief Corporate Officer (CCO), Pat Abayasekara.

The two top officials revealed to the board that “Lyca Group in UK which is a virtual operator in UK has approached SLT for business through its 95% owned subsidiary, Sky Network, which has been given WiMax frequency to operate islandwide.” They highlighted that SLT was “considering an acquisition strategy as an option” to get into the WiMax market. (See box for full board paper)

What is so special about Sky Network Private Limited that they should be able to acquire facilities from TRC when they were not even operating in Sri Lanka where SLT as the pioneer and custodian of the state’s telecom infrastructure, failed?

Rs. 20 company

When Sky Network was incorporated on May 9, 2006, it was effectively a Rs.20 company, with two initial shareholders, holding a single Rs.10 share, each. They were Hettiarachchige Sirisena of Horana and one K.M.S. Bandara of 175/2, Old Kottawa Road, Mirihana, Nugegoda. Please note that Mirihana is the Rajapakse neighbourhood which also featured prominently in the ‘Helping Hambantota’ scandal. Practically the entire family have their houses in Mirihana.

This Nugegoda address also serves as the registered company address of Sky Network Private Limited. The two subscribers were the initial directors of the company, and an electrical engineer, Ajantha Karunadasa of Gangodawila, Nugegoda was appointed to the ‘board’ on May 24, 2006.

By March 2007, this shelf company had been able to accomplish what giant SLT could not, having secured three separate frequency reservations from TRC in the WiMax range, which would be assigned to them with an Internet Service Provider licence, subject to the submission of an accepted business plan.

Thus on March 15, 2007 some 950,000 shares were issued by the company to Hastings Trading E Services of Portugal, which is a subsidiary of the UK-based Lycatel pre-paid international calling card group. Two weeks later, on March 30, 2007, Karunadasa resigned from the board of Sky Network, and was replaced as a director on the same day by none other than Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi whose address as per Form 48 is 175/2, Old Kottawa Road, Mirihana, Nugegoda.

Same address

Himal Hettiarachchi is the son of one of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s sisters. Despite his entry to the company only well after it was formed, his residential address being the same of Sky Network is also the same as one of the initial subscribers to the company, K.M.S. Bandara. It will be seen that Bandara was only a front man who was put in place till the groundwork was done so that no suspicions were raised at the outset of the game afoot.

The location of Hettiarachchi and Bandara’s residence – also the registered office of Sky Network – is symbolic. Going back to the days of ‘Helping Hambantota,’ many of the 30 something trustees to then Prime Minister Rajapakse’s famous Standard Chartered Bank account, Rajagiriya Branch, were residents of the Mirihana area, which even then was a bastion of Rajapakse’s relatives.

On June 1, 2007, both K.M.S. Bandara, who according to the official records lives at the same Old Kottawa Road address of the President’s nephew, and Hettiarachchige Sirisena of Horana, resigned from the board of Sky Network, to be replaced by Indian national, Rabindra Gaitonde and Lycatel UK CEO, Milind Kangle. The game was now well and truly underway.

By the end of the same month, the now foreign controlled company was in a position to ‘lend a helping hand’ to state telecom company SLT, by offering a joint venture or collaboration for WiMax services, using the frequencies reserved by Sky Network. Of course, for his labour, Laleendra Hettiarachchi was given a 5% stake of the company.

If the step-child treatment meted out to SLT by TRC, followed by President Rajapakse’s nephew obtaining Wi- Max frequencies over the counter and offering to sell their use to SLT together were insufficient to smell a rat, the proof of the pudding was soon to follow.

Diffident

The Sunday Leader contacted top SLT officials in order to ask them about their plans for entering the WiMax market and also to find out whether plans were afoot to buy a stake in a private company in order to move into WiMax. The officials however requested anonymity.

Our sympathies are with the board of directors of Sri Lanka Telecom. The external pressures on them to please the Rajapakses aside, SLT was truly stuck between a rock and a hard place when it received the Lycatel offer through Hettiarachchi’s Sky Network. They could either accept playing second fiddle to a Presidential upstart, or sit out the national Wi- Max revolution.

Thus, at the board meeting on June 29, 2007 where the CEO and COO of SLT presented Hettiarachchi’s proposal, approval was granted to carry out a valuation of Sky Network and proceed with negotiations for an equity acquisition of the company.

The largesse

By January 2008, the board of SLT had agreed to very tough conditions put forth by Himal Hettiarachchi’s group, which would ensure that the Rajapakse family had a piece of the action. It was agreed that whilst SLT would hold only a 40% stake in the new joint venture (the remaining 60% would be held by Hettiarachchi’s Sky Network) SLT was supposed to put up 70% of the multi-billion rupee investment cost of the project.

Therein lie the means of the Rajapakse poshanaya. The President’s nephew’s minions are granted access to a valuable telecommunication facility by the state regulator, which was denied to state dominated SLT. The state-owned company was thus almost blackmailed with the prospect of being left out of the WiMax revolution, unless it agreed to put up 70% of the cash for a multi-billion rupee venture and take only 40% of the profit from the said venture.

Compare SLT to Hettiarachchi’s Sky Network. The former was the founder of the Sri Lankan telecom industry, is a public quoted, state owned company whose management is held by a 40% stakeholder (Japan’s NTT) who in turn is well established in the international telecommunications industry. How NTT of Japan as a minority shareholder would look at this deal remains to be seen.

On the other hand, Sky Network is a two year old, Rs.20 company that managed to acquire lucrative facility reservations from the state regulator over the counter. Following the gain of this valuable facility, President Rajapakse’s nephew, Himal Hettiarachchi makes his debut into big business along with a UK pre-paid IDD calling card conglomerate.

The only asset of any value that Sky possessed were its frequency reservations. SLT was unable to get its own WiMax approval from the TRC, which comes directly under the purview of the President, and is effectively chaired by the President’s Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga.

No choice

Thus in order to keep up with other telecom companies such as Dialog and Suntel and not be left out, SLT was left with no choice other than to negotiate an extorting joint venture with the poshanaya (family empire.)

A board memo submitted by CEO Takahashi dated January 21, 2008 was indicative that the deal was virtually sealed with only the number of directors each company is to have on the board to be finalised. (See box for memo)

Given that the deal is to be finalised by SLT’s board of directors this week, it is incumbent on us to advise the SLT board of the TRC’s current stance on the company’s WiMax allocation. When The Sunday Leader contacted current TRC Director General, Priyantha Kariyapperuma, he advised us that SLT’s WiMax application was first taken up during the term of his immediate predecessor, Kanchana Ratwatte.

“The SLT WiMax application ran into some delays during the former DG’s time. I only assumed duties on January 2, 2008. Since then, they have not raised the WiMax issue with the TRC. I myself asked SLT officials but they dismissed the issue stating that they had ‘other priorities’ at the time.”

Kariyapperuma told this newspaper that he had spoken to the Spectrum Management Division of the TRC regarding the SLT request, and that there were a few issues with frequency distribution that would be resolved shortly in order to accommodate the SLT request. “I have told SLT officials who met me that there is no problem, and the request will now be granted. We should be able to give them WiMax within about 45 days,” the director general told us on record.

Explanation

Asked for the reason that the SLT request was delayed for two years whilst other telecom providers were granted WiMax frequencies, the incumbent Director General asked that we speak to his predecessor, since he was not aware of the conditions at the time.

When The Sunday Leader spoke to former TRC Director General, Kanchana Ratwatte, he informed us that a conscious decision was taken by the TRC to not provide SLT with WiMax facilities, before his tenure.

Ratwatte highlighted that SLT was the sole controller of the island’s vast wired telephony infrastructure, and was thus charged with its management. Although stressing that the decision to deny SLT’s WiMax application was taken before his time, the former DG openly supported the decision.

He cited the example of SLT being awarded frequencies to commence CDMA wireless operations. “After this, they totally stopped expanding their wired line operations.” Ratwatte said that he himself had made it clear to SLT that giving them WiMax was not an option for this reason, although he allowed that such a decision was never communicated to him in writing.

SLT officials however scoffed at Ratwatte’s explanation. One high ranking SLT official said that if the TRC was planning to restrict the company’s operations due to its exclusive control over the country’s wired infrastructure, the state telecom giant would not have agreed to such a proposal.

Indignant

“How can they say they have the right to tell us what business to go into and what businesses to stay out of, and control our services? Is this the job of the regulator? Why is this concern only extended to SLT and not to other operators who wish to expand from their core business?” the officer charged.

Now that the current TRC administration has gone on record stating that SLT will be authorised to begin WiMax services within 45 days, it can be shown for certain whether SLT’s board of directors went into the President’s nephew’s Sky Network deal for the good of the national telecom provider or at the whim of the first family. All that SLT now has to do is wait for the 45 days and get their own frequencies as promised by Kariyapperuma without having to go into a deal with Sky Network for want of the WiMax facility.

Should the SLT board hasten to seal the deal with Lycatel and Sky Network even after TRC Director General, Priyantha Kariyapperuma’s assurance that he is moving to provide SLT with WiMax, it will be a clear sign that Sri Lanka Telecom’s interests are not being placed at the forefront.

The only viable asset that Sky Network has, that would convince SLT to shell out 70% of the investment for such an enormous project, in return for the scrapings – a mere 40% of the profit, is their WiMax frequency reservation.

Wait and see

With SLT now set to secure the same WiMax facility from the TRC due to Kariyapperuma’s change in policy, all eyes will be on SLT’s upcoming board meeting this week. It remains to be seen whether SLT’s board of directors – including the representatives of the venerable Japanese NTT management – will have the necessary chutzpah to stand up to the Rajapakse poshanaya.

SLT eager to jump on board

21st January 2008
Board Memo

Sky Network Joint Venture

At the last board meeting of the SLT Board of Directors, the proposed terms of acquisition were approved subject to the revision of the composition of the Board of Directors of Sky Networks (Pvt) Ltd.

SLT Board requested the composition as four (4) directors from SLT and three (3) directors from the existing shareholders, one of whom would be the CEO of Sky Networks (Pvt) Ltd and would be selected with the approval of the Sky Networks Board.

This requirement was conveyed to the current shareholder Hastings (Lyca Group) and is still under negotiations.

Recommendation: Board approval is sought to give authority to CEO to negotiate and resolve this issue.

Shoji Takahashi
Chief Executive Officer


SLT laments delay, moots joint venture

29th June 2007
Board Paper PLC/T/65/2007
Equity Acquisition of Sky Network (Pvt) Ltd – WiMaX frequency owned company

1. Introduction

SLT has done field trials on WiMax Services and is awaiting frequency allocation to launch WiMax services in Sri Lanka which is a wireless broadband solution. SLT has already applied for the WiMax frequency from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) but despite repeated reminders there has still been no progress to obtain these frequencies. Dialog Broadband and Suntel already own frequencies and they have already rolled out their WiMax networks ready for service offering. The time to market and first mover advantage is very critical in this business as well and SLT will lag behind with the delays and SLT will become another follower in the market. Similar experiences have been there in the past too.

Lyca Group in UK which is a virtual operator in UK has approached SLT for business through its 95% owned subsidiary Sky Network, which has been given WiMax frequency to operate islandwide. SLT is considering an acquisition strategy as an option. In response to initial inquiry to go forward with partnership with equity acquisition of this company to launch WiMax services was positively responded. It is also, possible to leverage cost advantage and operational efficiency through such arrangements.

2. About Sky Network

(i) Name: Sky Network (Pvt) Limited

(ii) Company registration number: N(PVS) 46122

(iii) Share Holding:

95% Hastings Trading E Services – Portugal (subsidiary of Lyca Group)

5%, Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi

(iv) Board Members

1. Milind Kangle (Chairman) – CEO of Lyca Mobile UK Ltd

2. Christopher Tooley

3. Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi

WiMax Frequency

1. 2400-2430 MHz (Islandwide)

2. 5470-5850 MHz (Selected urban towns around Colombo)

3. 3500 MHz band to be reserved on exclusive basis upon submission of business plan

3. Recommendations

Board approval is sought to carry out a Valuation and Due Diligence on Sky Network (Pvt) Limited with a view of equity acquisition and by retaining Certified Public Accountants Ernst & Young for this purpose.

Shoji Takahashi P. N. E. Abayasekara
Chief Executive Officer Chief Corporate Officer

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Hot News from Lanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sripathy MP ; Killing part 2;dramatically increased doubts !

Questions over Sri’s death


The mangled wreckage of Sooriyaarachchi’s vehicle

Eyewitnesses spoke to police and
media but not produced in court

Wife calls for impartial investigation
citing several reasons

Vehicle not examined by the government
analyst for explosives and/or gunshots

PA Pradeshiya Sabha member
produced as witness

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
and Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

While controversy surrounds the car crash that killed Coordinator, SLFP (M), Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and three others in Tambuttegama on February 9, fresh questions are now being raised as to why the police produced two hitherto unknown persons in court as eyewitnesses last Friday (15) when there were eyewitnesses at a nearby garage in Tambuttegama, army personnel and villagers who gathered at the scene of the crash.

Some of them spoke to the police and subsequently to the media but none of them have been produced to furnish eyewitness accounts in court.

Whether there is merit in the argument that there was foul play or not, the sequence of events leading to Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi’s death and some of the eye witness accounts soon afterwards become a matter of public interest.

The concerns have been compounded by the fact that one of the eyewitnesses who appeared in court on Friday turned out to be a PA Pradeshiya Sabha member.

While associates allege that there was no reason to produce unknown eyewitnesses before the Anuradhapura Magistrate on Friday (15) particularly if there was no foul play, the late MP’s wife Dilrukshi Perera has written to Inspector General of Police (IGP), Victor Perera on February 14 calling for an impartial investigation into the incident citing several reasons to suspect foul play in the crash that killed herhusband.

Besides, she insisted that the vehicle should not have been so quickly removed from the scene of the crash but should have been examined without delay by the government analyst for explosives and/or gunshots etc.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Leader has verified information that when the matter came up before the Anuradhapura Magistrate on Friday (15), two eye witnesses were produced by the police, with both claiming the jeep travelled at excessive speed.

Unconfirmed reports

Soon after the fatal car crash, there were unconfirmed reports about a sound similar to a minor explosion being heard by two men running a garage in close proximity to the scene of the crash. They assumed it was a minor bomb blast and soon afterwards rushed to the scene.

However, these two were not among those produced in court to give eyewitness accounts – this despite the fact that they arrived on the scene of the accident shortly after the crash.

The two eyewitnesses who were producedtold court that they witnessed the jeep speeding on the road and identified the mangled metal contraption to be the same they saw minutes before the crash. The PA Pradeshiya Sabha member had told court that he drove past the speeding vehicle. He reportedly told court that he saw the speeding vehicle while on his way to purchase some goods with his daughter. Soon after that, they saw the same vehicle crashed into a massive tree, he stated.

The other eyewitness account was made by a police officer from the Galnewa police. He reportedly told court that he was on his way to check out some ‘transformer blast’ when he happened to travel passing a jeep that moved at ‘reckless speed.’He later discovered the badly damaged vehicle by the roadside.

Importantly enough, the two persons from the garage who initially claimed to have heard some ‘explosion like noise’ and rushed to the scene were not produced in court. Also, it was reported that there was a large army presence at the scene of the accident following the car crash (see Eye Witness Account), but none of them appeared in court on Friday to give evidence.

Concerned query

In this backdrop, Sooriyaarachchi’s associates query as to why the police felt the need to produce hitherto unknown witnesses and one of them a PA politician if there was nothing suspicious about the car crash that killed Sooriyaarachchi and three others. Court fixed the next hearing for February 27.

Meanwhile, Sooriyaarachchi’s lawyers produced before the magistrate the letter written by his widow to IGP Victor Perera calling for an impartial inquiry.

In her letter dated February 14, Sooriyaarachchi’s widow, Dilrukshi Perera has requested IGP Victor Perera for an impartial investigation to the car crash that killed her husband along with three others and to appoint a special team of officers for the purpose.

She stated that a large number of friends and relatives have brought to her notice several issues that caused suspicion with regard to the circumstances of the accident and claimed that only the local police was handling investigations (at the time of writing) which she found unsatisfactory.

Requesting that a lawyer nominated by her be permitted to watch the family’s interests at the investigation, she added: “The vehicle should have been examined without delay by the government analyst for explosives and/or gunshots etc. I understand that this was not done. What is also of greater concern is that the vehicle was removed from the scene of the accident very quickly, before investigations had properly commenced.”

Valid reasons

The letter further added that there were two reasons whichcaused her to doubt the theories propounded in explanation of Sooriyaarachchi’s violent death. It read: “Firstly, the harassment meted out to her husband since he was removed by His Excellency the President from his ministerial portfolio exactly one year before the date of the accident. Next, he was persecuted, arrested and remanded on frivolous charges and our house in Colombo was bombed so that we were compelled to move house to what we thought was a safer place.”

Exposures

The letter to the IGP claimed that it was thought that the reason for the unjust political victimisation was because Sooriyaarachchi was one of the few formidable critics of the present government, who publicly brought to light many illegal, immoral and corrupt deals of some people in power.

The letter highlights that Sooriyaarachchi publicly exposed facts with regard to an agreement with the LTTE and key government personalities to defraud the last presidential election. “He was to be the key witness in the probe into this allegation by the Special Parliamentary Select Committee. In fact, Sripathi was arrested immediately before he was due to present a motion in parliament requesting a probe. The probe of the Select Committee is still pending,” it added.

The letter further adds that Sooriyaarachchi championed a call for an independent investigation to look into the infamous MiG 27 deal and that he also exposed irregularities in the attempted sale of Telecom shares to a foreign company and successfully obtained a stay order from courts, the final court decision still pending.

Vituperative campaign

Dilrukshi Perera in her letter emphasises that the IGP should therefore appreciate the importance of removing the chief petitioner/complainant in all the above matters that are of great national interest and claims that the above instances on the other hand were most embarrassing to those wielding power in government.

“It is also of interest to note that a most vituperative campaign was carried out against my husband in the state media since he was sacked from the government. I must say that Sripathi stood for democracy and freedom and only fought for the right of every citizen to an honest and good government. Sripathi believed that this country could lay claim to a great and noble future. He was only legally and morally exercising his right to ensure this. No one should be harassed or punished for this,” adds the letter further emphasising the fact that the late Sooriyaarachchi received death threats through anonymous calls and letters.

In conclusion, Sooriyaarachchi’s widow adds that in the above context, she had serious doubts about the manner in which the motor accident occurred and hence earnestly pleaded with the IGP as the head of the Police Department, the agency which citizens of the country look to for justice and fair play, to take impartial action to institute an independent investigation into same.

Family bans two government politicos

The Sooriyaarachchi family banned two government politicians – namely non-Cabinet Ministers Mervyn Silva and Mahindananda Aluthgamage from visiting the funeral house in Kandana.

Silva who had put up posters and banners expressing grief over the sudden demise of the MP later on removed all such signs of mourning and reportedly banned others from putting up banners mourning Sooriyaarachchi’s death.

Both ministers have regularly used abusive language on the late Parliamentarian and obstructed him from speaking in parliament.

However other government politicians visited Sooriyaarachchi’s home to pay their last respects.

Brief profile

Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi was born on September 8, 1962

Married to Dilrukshi Perera he was a father of four children.

He served as a navy officer before entering politics. He was appointed Essential Services Commissioner in 1999

Entered politics in 2003 with the blessings of then President Chandrika Kumaratunga

Successfully contested for the first time in 2004 from the Gampaha District on the UPFA ticket securing 76,637 preferential votes.

President Kumaratunga appointed him as Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2004.

Appointed non Cabinet Minister of Port Development by President Mahinda Rajapakse in December 2005.

Writes to President Mahinda Rajapakse on February 7, 2006 regarding Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse alleging specific instances of corruption and irregularities

A claymore mine attack in Kadawatha allegedly targeting Sooriyaarachchi while on his way to a mobile service at a temple averted on October 19, 2006

On February 9, 2007, Sooriyaarachchi together with Mangala Samaraweera sacked from portfolios by Mahinda Rajapakse

On March 6, submits a motion calling for a special parliamentary select committee to probe an alleged electoral pact between key government personalities and the LTTE to defraud the 2005 presidential election.

In March 2007, arrested by the CID for alleged misuse of an official vehicle

Exonerated from the charge after five weeks

Crossed over to the opposition in June 2007 along with Samaraweera. Together they form the SLFP- Mahajana Wing

The SLFP (M) Wing signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form the National Congress with the main opposition UNP in July 2007

Sooriyaarachchi’s final day

Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi on Saturday, February 9, left for Anuradhapura to meet a former member of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), one Ekanayake.

Sooriyaarachchi, Ekanayake and S.K.R. Silva (who was also killed in the accident), were long standing friends since they were all members of the Sri Lanka Navy at one point. Even after leaving active service, the trio had maintained close links.

Silva had for some time expressed his interest in starting a paddy business and had called on Ekanayake to find a suitable storehouse to commence the business.

On Friday (8) night, Silva had called Ekanayake and informed him that he would arrive in Anuradhapura the following day to inspect some of the storehouses Ekanayake had earmarked for the business.

Silva had also told Ekanayake that he would be leaving Colombo around 7.30 a.m. on Saturday and that he would call him once he arrived in Anuradhapura.

Around 11 a.m. Silva had called Ekanayake and had asked him to meet him near the Lion pillar (Sinha kanuwa) in Anuradhapura. Ekanayake had then asked Silva to come to Dahiyagama, which was convenient to him.

Silva had then informed Ekanayake that he could not come to the location suggested by Ekanayake as Parliamentarian Sooriyaarachchi had accompanied him.

Ekanayake had then agreed to meet Silva and Sooriyaarachchi near the Lion pillar.

They have then gone to inspect the storehouses identified by Ekanayake to start Silva’s business. They next visited the Ulukkulama Govi Sevana as well.

However, Silva had not been satisfied with any of the storehouses inspected that day.

Sooriyaarachchi, Silva and the rest of the group had then left Anuradhapura after dropping Ekanayake at Dahiyagama.

The next Ekanayake heard was of the accident that had taken place and of Sooriyaarachchi’s and Silva’s death.

Following the accident, Ekanayake was first asked to record a statement with Galgamuwa police.

However, on Tuesday (12), the Anuradhapura police summoned Ekanayake. Sergeant Bandara from the Intelligence Unit had informed Ekanayake that he had to record another statement from him claiming that the Presidential Secretariat had requested more details.

Investigations complete – DIG Wayamba

Wayamba Province DIG, Jayantha Jayasinghe says that the investigation into the accident by officials from the Government Analysts Department and the motorcar inspectors had concluded that the impact was caused due to speeding.

Jayasinghe said that the report of the investigation was handed over to the Tambuttegama Magistrate on Friday (15).

“The investigators have concluded that the accident was caused due to speeding,” he said.

Jayasinghe observed that the investigators had looked into the speculation that foul play was involved in the accident when investigating into the accident.

“The investigators have cleared a lot of speculation that was built following the accident. They have looked into the allegation that gun shots were fired before the vehicle went off the road and have said that there have been no such shots fired,” he said, adding that investigations have revealed that the tyres of the vehicle were worn out.

Jayasinghe also said that the two survivors of the accident in their statements to the police have said that the vehicle was speeding at the time of the accident.

When questioned as to how the investigation was handed over to the North Western Province when the accident took place in Tambuttegama in the Anuradhapura District, Jayasinghe said that the accident had taken place in Galgamuwa, which belonged to the Kurunegala District. “In fact, the accident has taken place in the border (between the Anuradhapura District and Kurunegala District),” he said.

“There is no suspicion with regard to the accident now. All aspects have been looked into and verified by the investigators,” Jayasinghe added.

Survivor’s account

Lakmal Vajirasiri, one of the survivors of the accident that killed Parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi says he cannot recall the cause of the accident as he was asleep at the time.

A former director of the Yovun Senankaya formed by the late Sooriyaarachchi, Lakmal had received a telephone call from the former on Friday (8) asking him to be ready the following day to travel to Anuradhapura.

“I was called on Friday and was asked to be ready to go to Anuradhapura the following day. I was told to be in Divulapitiya on Saturday (9) morning and I was picked up around 8.45 a.m. We reached Anuradhapura around 11.30 a.m.,” he said.

According to Lakmal, once they arrived in Anuradhapura they met with a person who had showed them several warehouses to store paddy.

“One of the Parliamentarian’s friends was interested in seeing the warehouses. After we looked at several and since there was nothing that caught his interest, we decided to return to Colombo,” he said.

Around 12.15 p.m., they had stopped for lunch at a roadside boutique a little before Tambuttegama.

“After lunch, we resumed our journey and a little while later, most of us fell asleep. I was fast asleep when the accident took place. In fact when I woke up, I was in hospital. I have no idea as to what happened,” Lakmal said.

Eyewitness accounts

A few minutes after the accident, a group of people travelling to Anuradhapura had arrived at the scene of the accident.

Liyanage Samantha Kumara and his brother arrived at the scene of the accident about 10 minutes after the accident had taken place when they had witnessed several army personnel already there at the scene clearing the area.

Liyanage said that he and his brother were on their way to an alms giving in Iluppallama in Anuradhapura when they arrived at the scene of the accident.

“There were a lot of army personnel along with a lot of villagers surrounding the vehicle. Some of the army soldiers stopped our vehicle and asked us to take a few injured to hospital,” he said.

Liyanage had then got down from the front passenger seat and opened to door behind when the first injured person was brought to the vehicle.

“The first person I saw among the injured was Lakmal, whom we knew personally. I told my brother who was at the driver’s seat that Lakmal was injured and then I called my workplace. I asked them to inform Lakmal’s family that he was injured in an accident,” he said.

Liyanage and his brother had taken some of the injured to the hospital.

“Another van followed soon behind with several others injured in the accident. It was after we admitted everyone to hospital that we knew that Parliamentarian Sooriyaarachchi was involved in the accident,” Liyanage said.

“After admitting everyone, we waited for a while till some people arrived and then we left because we were already late for the alms giving,” Liyanage added.

February 17, 2008 Posted by | Political Hot News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sripathy MP Killed by accident or Pre Plan? ::Is Rajapakse and co involved ?

sripathy,Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi,mp Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi,Sri Lankan MP,killed MP,LTTE,Eelam,tamil news, sinhala news,sri lankan news,mangala,mangala samaraweera Sripathy No more…
Exactly one year to the day he was sacked from his ministerial portfolio by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, SLFP dissident and Gampaha District MP died under tragic circumstances in a road accident yesterday.

MP Sri pathy

The former Minister, his driver Kumara and bodyguard S.K.R. Silva were killed when the jeep they were travelling in skidded off the rain-soaked Kurunegala-Anuradhapura Road and crashed headlong into a tree last afternoon, Police said.

The incident took place at around 1:15 p.m. in Madagama in the Galgamuwa Police Division, when Sooriyaarachchi and a group of six people, including his deceased driver and bodyguard, were travelling back to Colombo from Anuradhapura.

The victims of the crash were rushed to the Thambuttegama Hospital a few kilometres away but Sooriyaarachchi and two others were already dead on admission, hospital officials told The Nation.

The MP’s Secretary Lakmal Vajirasiri and one other person who was injured in the accident are still receiving treatment at the Thambuttegama Hospital.
Sooriyaarachchi leaves behind his wife Dilrukshi, two daughters, Thishani (17) and Piumi (15), and two young sons, Adhishtan (10) and Apekshan (5).

On February 9 last year, Sooriyaarachchi and his colleagues Mangala Samaraweera and Anura Bandaranaike were sacked from their ministerial positions by President Rajapaksa. Samaraweera and Sooriyaarachchi later went on to establish the SLFP splinter group, SLFP Mahajana Wing, in which Sooriyaarachchi functioned as chief coordinator.

Since his sacking, Sooriyaarachchi had been one of the Rajapaksa administration’s most vociferous critics.
Sooriyaarachchi, known to his closest friends and relatives by the affectionate nickname ‘Sri,’ first entered Parliament as an MP of the United People’s Freedom Alliance, born of the political marriage between the SLFP and the JVP.

His seat in Parliament belongs to the ruling UPFA coalition and the late MP will be succeeded by the SLFP representative with.

Allegations made by UNP:

in a press release on the same day ,mp killed UNP member Luxman Kiriyella said that the death of Sripathy mp is suspicious , and clear investigations should be go on, as our members from the area where the accident took place reported firing sounds at the time of the accident .

Political killings is a normal practice in the politics of sri lanka . The people smallest Island fighting for the power and kill other to get the powers.

The second think is the accident claimed the life of three traveled in the vehicle ,how it is possible as it is not happen in other similar accidents .

The maximum possibilities guessed at the moment:

1>may be a very rare type of real accident (20%)
2>A group with gun on a vehicle chased this vehicle and lead to this incident (60%)
3> A big vehicle hit this vechicle or on the way to hit ,so driver turned the cab ,it lead to the accident.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Top news | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment