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Democracy Continues, Sri Lanka Style...

 The Karuna Affair

 Sonali Samarasinghe in the Sunday Leader

11 November 2007

"I suggest let the government get rid of Karuna, a liability and work with Pillayan and his men who are more popular in the east than Karuna," Rajasingham had proposed. The President according to the minutes then makes a damning comment. States the minutes sent by Rajasingham on Rajapakse's response; "HE said that he will take up the matter with his defence people and do the needful."


Shocking documentary evidence has surfaced that the plan to get rid of LTTE renegade commander Karuna was discussed with President Mahinda Rajapakse and Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda in June in Geneva by the head of the Asian Tribune K.T. Rajasingham.

The plan is disclosed in an e-mail letter dated October 24, sent by Rajasingham to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando calling for follow up action on a series of issues discussed with the President in Geneva on June 15. Rajasingham's letter to Fernando states, "I am attaching the report of the discussion I had with HE President when I met him in Geneva, Switzerland on 15 June 2007 for information and necessary action."

According to the document the President, Minister Devananda and Rajasingham had discussed issues ranging from child recruitment by Karuna, role of the Defence Ministry in protecting Karuna, changes in the diplomatic service, setting up communication networks to counter LTTE propaganda and winning over India.

The discussion according to Rajasingham's letter to Fernando took place at the Presidential Suite No 1727, Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva.

The government on August 30 obtained a diplomatic passport for Karuna in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on which forged passport Karuna travelled to London and reached Heathrow Airport on September 18. The number of the forged diplomatic passport issued to Karuna is D 1944260.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Department said a diplomatic passport to a person who is not holding a designated high office can be issued only on a directive by the President's Secretary.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry issued a Third Party Note to the British High Commission in Colombo and obtained a visa for Karuna on September 5 to travel to UK on the forged passport bearing number D 1944260 in the name of Kokila Gunawardena. The Foreign Ministry claimed 'Kokila Gunawardena' was to attend a climate change conference on behalf of the government as a representative attached to a department which came under the Environment Ministry of JHU's Champika Ranawaka. He was described in the visa application as the 'Director General of Wildlife Conservation.'

In his letter to Presidential Advisor Fernando it is stated by Rajasingham that Karuna managed to reach the UK with the help of Sri Lanka's Intelligence Service and that he had spirited away Rs 500 million from monies collected through abductions and that given by the government to support his cadres.

In the discussion with the President and Devananda, it is revealed in the minutes that Rajasingham had said Karuna is a liability to the government and a spent force who should be got rid of.

It had been further said at the June meeting according to the minutes Pillayan was ready to arrest Karuna but was hesitating because the 'higher ups in the Defence Ministry would not entertain such a step.'

"I suggest let the government get rid of Karuna, a liability and work with Pillayan and his men who are more popular in the east than Karuna," Rajasingham had proposed. The President according to the minutes then makes a damning comment.States the minutes sent by Rajasingham on Rajapakse's response; "HE said that he will take up the matter with his defence people and do the needful."

In other written communications last week Rajasingham has boasted he had a role to play in the Karuna split from the LTTE and his exit from Sri Lanka.

Karuna was arrested by the British authorities in the posh London surburb of Kensington for entering the country on a forged passport. Karuna has sought asylum when arrested.
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