rejects JVPís four conditions at meeting with
President and Ranil in
MR says no dissolution if
budget is defeated
Ranil will be asked to
Ranil wants people to
decide next Govt
The Sunday Leader Political Editor
President Mahinda Rajapakse informed UNP leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday that he will not
accept the four demands made by the JVP but
invite Wickremesinghe to form a Government if
the budget is defeated.
President said he has no intention of dissolving
Parliament and going for a general election even
if the Government loses the budget.
President explained the course of action he
intends to take when he met Wickremesinghe at
the funeral house of former First Lady Eleanor
Jayawardene last night.
President who arrived at the funeral house after
Wickremesinghe had gone and occupied a seat next
to the UNP leader and asked what he intended to
do on the budget.
Wickremesinghe told the President the accepted
convention in all democracies is for Parliament
to be dissolved upon losing a budget and for a
general election to be held.
President however had said he had no intention
of doing so and would invite Wickremesinghe to
form the next Government in such a situation.
Sunday Leader learns Wickremesinghe had told the
President he will not lose the budget vote if he
concedes the four demands made by the JVP. The
JVP has demanded the abolition of the ceasefire
agreement, abolition of the All Party
Representative Committee, rejection of UN human
rights representations on Sri Lanka and
protection of national security.
President had told Wickremesinghe he was not
ready to give into the JVP demands.
learned the UNP leader had said he will not
accept an invitation to form a Government out of
the present parliament if the budget is defeated
but ask the people for a fresh mandate.
Wickremesinghe had also said the President could
otherwise invite the JVP to form the Government
as a constituent party of the UPFA if the budget
The President it is
learned had said he had no intention of doing
Somawansa Opposition Leader's post
Basil to resign from Parliament
for JVP leader
Anura B to decide tonight on
CWC and SLMC make new demands
Arjuna under pressure from Reggie
By The Sunday Leader Political
THE government has decided to
leave no stone unturned to win the budget vote
and last week offered to make JVP Leader
Somawansa Amarasinghe the Leader of the
Opposition if the party votes for the budget.
The offer to make Amarasinghe the
Opposition Leader was made by Presidential
Advisor and MP, Basil Rajapakse.
The government has also agreed to
consider withdrawing from the Ceasefire
Agreement and banning the LTTE to win the
support of the JVP.
The Sunday Leader learns Basil
Rajapakse had told Opposition MP Jayalath
Jayawardene that since UNP Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe had welcomed SLFP MP Wijedasa
Rajapakse's crossover, the government would move
to make Somawansa Amarasinghe the Opposition
Leader after the budget. Jayawardene, it is
learnt had informed Rajapakse that the JVP
leader was not a Member of Parliament to be
entitled to hold the office but the Presidential
Advisor had dismissed the comment stating there
were ways to achieve that objective.
Rajapakse told the MP he had
offered to resign his UPFA national list seat
and appoint Amarasinghe who also represents the
UPFA through the JVP to Parliament and then
facilitate his appointment as Opposition Leader
after inducting more UNP MPs into government.
Contacted by The Sunday Leader,
Jayawardene confirmed the conversation with
Meanwhile the President has
invited all government MPs for a meeting at 4
p.m. today followed by dinner to ensure the
government has a majority in the House.
The Sunday Leader learns National
Heritage Minister, Anura Bandaranaike will not
attend the dinner meeting and will decide how he
would vote, Sunday night. Bandaranaike has not
attended Parliament a single day during the
budget debate and had told confidantes he may
not attend the budget vote due to ill health.
It is also learned Colombo
District MP, Arjuna Ranatunga who informed
President Mahinda Rajapakse he will not be
voting for the budget has come under intense
emotional pressure by his father, Governor
Reggie Ranatunga who was spoken to by the
President. Ranatunga had said he will make his
final decision known on Monday.
Meanwhile the CWC and the Muslim
Congress too have met Basil Rajapakse and Chief
Government Whip, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and
forwarded a list of demands which the government
has agreed to concede including more financial
and subject allocations to the respective
ministries under their purview.
The Sunday Leader learns the CWC
and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, which jointly
count for 12 votes, will make their final
decision over the weekend.
The CWC MPs met Thursday to
decide their course of action with only Minister
Muthu Sivalingam fully in favour of voting with
the government. The SLMC high command was due to
meet Friday night to decide on how the party
will vote at the budget.
Informed sources said the
Opposition would decide on their course of
action after the JVP's decision on the budget is
made public. These sources said if the JVP
votes against the budget, the Opposition will
make its move at the Committee Stage vote on
proposals are implemented
President fails to woo Wije
ATTEMPTS by President Mahinda
Rajapakse to woo COPE chairman Wijedasa
Rajapakse to vote with the Government on the
budget failed yesterday with the member
insisting the Government implements the seven
proposals submitted by him in Parliament first.
The meeting with the President
yesterday followed a discussion Wijedasa had
with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse the
previous day where he was urged to return to the
The Sunday Leader learns the COPE
chairman had reiterated the need to implement
the seven proposals he made before any such
decision is taken following which he was asked
at least to meet with the President. The
proposals included the removal of two ministers
accused of corrupt practices in the COPE report,
the removal of Treasury Secretary PB Jayasundera
and Inland Revenue Chief AA Wijedasa for also
being faulted by the committee, appointing a
parliamentary select committee to evolve a
solution to the ethnic conflict and slashing the
Presidential budget to Rs 5 billion.
The Sunday Leader learns,
President Rajapakse was assisted at yesterday's
discussion by his two brothers Gotabaya and
Basil with television cameras also in
attendance. However, it is learned Wijedasa had
told the President he cannot in anyway vote for
the budget unless his proposals are implemented
since he would become a laughing stock among the
The President, informed sources
said, had promised to consider implementing the
proposals after the budget and urged Wijedasa to
vote with the Government. S ources said
Wijedasa did not agree to the formula suggested.
The COPE chairman had later told
confidants he went for the meeting because it
would have been discourteous to decline an
invitation by the President but that at the same
time he will not be able to face the people if
he compromised on his principles by voting with
the Government without having his proposals
in talks with 16 govt. MPs
THE Opposition is negotiating
with 16 government members to vote against the
budget, The Sunday Leader learns.
The decision of the 16 MPs have
boiled down to awaiting the JVP's decision on
the budget vote, informed sources said.
The Opposition will have 106
votes if the JVP votes against the budget.
It is learned JVP politburo
member and MP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake has in
an interview to a Sunday Sinhala paper published
today given an indication that the party would
be voting against the budget.
He had also privately told
several MPs who had asked him for the party's
position to read his interview to know how the
party would vote.
The JVP newspaper, Lanka on
Friday in its lead story said 24 government
members were planning to crossover to the
Informed sources said the
government members had indicated to the
Opposition that they would vote with the
Opposition to defeat the budget on December 14
at the committee stage if the JVP votes against
it on November 19.
action on four demands
JVP refuses to meet MR
THE JVP yesterday turned down an
invitation by President Mahinda Rajapakse to
discuss the four conditions laid down by the
Marxists to support the budget but insisted they
be implemented before the budget vote.
Addressing a press conference
yesterday, the JVP leadership said that the
party had turned down a letter sent to JVP
General Secretary Tilvin Silva by Presidential
Secretary Lalith Weeratunge inviting the party
for a discussion on the four demands.
The four demands put forward by
the JVP are the abolition of the Ceasefire
Agreement, abolition of the All Party
Representative Committee, refusing entry to the
country to any UN representative on human rights
missions and a pledge to uphold national
The JVP is to respond to
Weeratunge's letter in writing today.
Party Leader Somawansa
Amerasinghe said that the JVP was not ready to
negotiate on the four demands and that it was
now up to the government to respond through
He said that the government still
had time to respond to the demands and that the
JVP was willing to help them if the right path
However, the JVP leadership did
not make any firm statement if it would be
voting in support of the budget or against it.
Responding to questions posed by
journalists, Amerasinghe said that the JVP's
decision would be based on the government's
The JVP was also critical of the
crossovers taking place in parliament saying it
brought disrepute to the whole parliamentary
MP says Rs. 100m the going rate
MPs receive top offers to join
SKY is the limit for opposition
members who are willing to crossover to the
government and vote for the budget.
Financial rewards and top jobs
are on offer, several UNP MPs have alleged both
in Parliament and outside.
Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri
Jayasekera told Parliament on Friday he was
offered the Ports Ministry to vote with the
government on the budget. He said the offer came
from the Presidential Secretariat.
Jayasekera told The Sunday Leader
Parliament has today become an auction place
with MPs offered anything over Rs. 100 million
to cross to the government.
It is learned another MP, Indika
Bandaranayake has alleged he was offered Rs. 200
million to join the government.
Senior UNP MP Abdul Cader told
Parliament on Friday he too was under threat to
join the government while the President had
telephoned and inquired whether he could visit
UNP MPs Alick Aluvihare and Ranjith Aluvihare at
judicial killings reported in October
By Arthur Wamanan
THERE have been 53 extra judicial
killings in the country during October, the
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said last
It also stated that none of the
cases of disappearances and killings had been
investigated by the authorities and urged the
government to establish a field based office
with the cooperation of the United Nations Human
Rights Council in order to stop these killings
"Even though several cases of
extra judicial killings and disappearances have
been continuously reported since last year,
those responsible have not been investigated or
prosecuted," the AHRC said.
While expressing concern over the
extra judicial killings, it also stated that
these reports were based on the cases that were
"Thus no one knows the exact
number in Sri Lanka due to the absence or
dysfunction of the mechanism to receive
complaints from the victim's family, investigate
the cases received and prosecute those
responsible," it said.
According to the AHRC, most of
these killings had occurred in the north and
Civil Monitoring Convener, Mano
Ganesan told The Sunday Leader that he had met
the ambassadors and high commissioners and had
requested their support to extend the CMC's
activities to the north and the east.
"We have received complaints of
abductions and killings continuously from the
north and east. The situation is not good in
these areas. I have requested the high
commissioners and ambassadors to assist the CMC
to extend our activities in the north and east
as well," he said.
The SLMM in its latest situation
report also said abductions and killings
continued in Jaffna. It was also reported that
four persons had surrendered to the HRC office
in Jaffna last week due to threats.
Raj hits back
at US$ 3m investment dispute
CONTROVERSY surrounds a sum of
US$ 3 million that was remitted to purchase
shares of the Union Bank in December 2006 by
Managing General Partner, the Galleon Group, Raj
Rajaratnam who is based in
The money was remitted to the
bank account of Nexia Corporate Consultants Pvt.
Ltd., who were handling the intended purchase of
the Union Bank shares on behalf of The Galleon
Group in December last year.
Rajaratnam, in two separate
letters to the Chief Financial Officer of Nexia
Corporate Consultants Pvt Ltd., referring to the
US$ 3 million that was remitted to the company's
bank account for the purchase of Union Bank
shares, has also said that due to an error or
oversight by the Standard Chartered Bank, the US
dollars were converted and the remittance
credited to a Sri Lanka rupee account instead of
crediting it to a US dollar SIERA account.
Rajaratnam in the letter had
further requested Nexia Corporate Consultants
Pvt. Ltd., to take immediate steps to withdraw
the said sum (after deducting any taxes) and pay
it to the Galleon Group account at the Deutsche
Bank, Colombo branch since the Union Bank
transaction was not going through.
"As the Union Bank transaction is
not going through (since it was bought by a
Saudi group last month) there is no purpose in
our money lying in a Standard Chartered Bank
rupee account in the name of Nexia Corporate
Consultants Pvt Ltd.," Rajaratnam has said in
In the letter, Rajaratnam has
also referred to other purchases of shares by
the Galleon Group in listed companies in Sri
Lanka like John Keells Holdings, NDB Bank, etc.,
from time to time "lawfully remitting monies to
purchase such shares in
The government has now alleged
that UNP MP for Colombo District, Ravi
Karunanayake was linked with the US$ 3 million
that was remitted by Rajaratnam and has accused
him for committing an offence under the Money
Karunanayake dismissed the
allegation as preposterous and told The Sunday
Leader it was a futile attempt at intimidating
him before the budget vote.
The Sunday Leader learns the
Presidential Advisor had also spoken to Central
Bank Governor, Nivard Cabraal and said not to
mishandle such issues since Rajaratnam was a
legitimate businessman who had invested heavily
in Sri Lanka.
Rajaratnam it is learnt was
recently approached by the government during the
US$ 500 million bond issuance to invest. Sources
close to Rajaratnam told The Sunday Leader that
Presidential Secretary, Lalith Weera- tunge has
had a lengthy discussion with Rajaratnam
recently in New York in order to persuade him to
buy into the US$ 500 million bond that was
offered by the Sri Lankan government last month.
High drama at Galle Face Hotel
THERE was high drama at the Galle
Face Hotel yesterday where the Government has
housed UNP defector Mahinda Ratnatilleke with
security provided by the Presidential Security
Ratnatilleke is housed at
and on a tip off received from an inside source
a UNP team rushed to the hotel yesterday to meet
with the elusive MP.
The UNP team which went to the
hotel were MPs Lakshman Seneviratne, Ranga
Bandara, former Executive Director of the
Airport and Aviation Authority Gamini Abeyratne
and lawyer representing Ratnatilleke in the
Nalanda Ellawela murder case, Nissanka
The UNP team having gone to the
hotel had called Ratnatilleke from the coffee
shop and invited him to join them for a cup of
Ratnatilleke had earlier invited
Ranga Bandara to also join the Government
offering Rs five million and a cabinet
Bandara, it is learned had
jokingly said he would want the Interior
Ministry gazetted beforehand and Rs 50 million
to which demand Ratnatilleke had said he will
consult the President and revert.
Bandara confirmed to The Sunday
Leader he was invited to join the Government by
Ratnatilleke with an offer of cash and
Meanwhile yesterday morning after
telephoning Ratnatilleke from the coffee shop
and inviting him for a drink, the UNP member had
told the defector to look out of the window to
Ratnatilleke had later invited
the UNP team to his suite and discussed
hisdecision to defect and said he was now not in
a position to return to the fold without losing
face with the people.
The UNP MPs had said he had
already lost face with the people by his conduct
but Ratnatilleke had said thecircumstances were
such he cannot now vote against the budget.
Ratnatilleke had also praised UNP
leader ranil Wickremesinghe as a honourable man
whom he would not criticise like some other
At the end of the meeting
Ratnatillleke inquired how the MPs learned of
his whereabouts and Bandara had replied that as
an ex policeman he knows how to find people and
that he still has goodcontacts within the police