Mervyn Silva Investigation
MERVYN SILVA INVESTIGATION
By SONALI SAMARASINGHE
Investigation period :
September 2007 – December 2007
The series of Investigations won for the journalist the prestigious Global Shining Light Award for Investigative Journalism presented by the Investigative Journalism Conference in Norway.
On November 21, 2007 a Wednesday, our Newspaper presses (Factory) not surprisingly, fell under an arson attack. Lorry loads of The Morning Leader newspaper of which I was Editor in Chief, were burnt in the attack as they were being taken for distribution.
Arson attack on Leader press roundly condemned
Published 02 December 2007: Many organisations both international and local, political parties and individuals concerned over the serious affront to media freedom as a result of the arson attack on the Leader Publications press have roundly condemned the attack. Below are excerpts of some of the statements:
An attempt to stifle media – Bishop Duleep Chickera
“The well planned and executed arson attack on The Sunday Leader press came as a shock to the nation. This must be seen as yet another calculated attempt in a trend to stifle the free media of this country. The act, and the hidden forces behind it must be vehemently condemned by all peace loving and democratic-minded citizens of Sri Lanka.
The continuing trend to silence the independent media has already reached dangerous proportions. A media that can freely voice dissent, advocate the freedom of expression and the right to information and engage in a discourse of critique, is indispensable for the well being of a democratic and civilised nation at all times; it is absolutely crucial in times of violence, war, social suspicion and instability.
The people of our country must take serious note that if brazen criminal acts of this nature are allowed to take place with impunity then we have no one else to blame but ourselves for the growing chaos and destruction. I call upon all religious bodies and all Sri Lankans to condemn this act and call for a free investigation and indictment of the perpetrators.
We would do well to remember that a free media is an indispensable service to us and to the integrity and dignity of the nation. The least we can do when such persons come under attack is to express our strong disapproval and ensure the media of our solidarity. To the extent that we remain silent, this trend of impunity and violent intolerance will be interpreted as complacency, and will soon engulf us all.
Given the location of the press and the circumstances of the attack, there is little doubt that the police should be able to track down the perpetrators without delay. The President’s personal initiative for a prompt investigation as well the availability of competent police officers enhanced by the prevailing climate of sophisticated intelligence and tight security must lead to successful police investigations.
On the other hand, the inability to identify the perpetrators inspite of all these advantages will clearly signal to the whole country, the involvement of a more powerful force and even suggest connivance in the attack.”
Reflection of prevalent jungle law
– Civil Monitoring Commission Convener, Mano Ganesan
THE cowardly destruction of the Leader Publications printing press is nothing but a reflection of the prevalent jungle law in the country, says WPF Leader and CMC Convener, Mano Ganesan MP in a statement issued by the Civil Monitoring Commission. The statement further states.
“It is no secret that all Leader publications were critical of the government. It naturally published the other side of the story, produced and published by the state media. This country needs counter print and electronic media. It is a necessary integral part of performing free media in Sri Lanka. The government of the day on the one hand is responsible for law and order. The state law enforcement agencies have miserably failed to provide protection to this institution which had come under attack on earlier occasions too. On the other hand government politicians cannot play innocent and walk away from the natural accusation in this dastardly act.”
Security forces accused of complicity
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the arson attack on Leader Publications, which is located in a high security area outside Colombo. About 15 gunmen that staged the attack must have had support within the security forces, the press freedom organisation said.
“Armed men have once again attacked an independent news media in a high security area of the capital,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It unfortunately shows that the press freedom enemies have accomplices within the security forces. By attacking the Leader Publications group, this gang wanted to silence one of the main sources of incisive criticism of the current government. We urge foreign diplomats to publicly express their solidarity with the group.
Leader Publications printing press is located at Ratmalana, a high-security zone adjoining a military airport outside the capital. A gang stormed the premises early in the morning, rounded up all of the 25 employees, and at gunpoint, forced them to hand over their mobile phones. Then they doused the press with petrol and set it on fire. They also set fire to the thousands of copies of the day’s issue of The Morning Leader, which was about to be distributed. Firemen took an hour to put out the blaze.
A Sunday Leader journalist told Reporters Without Borders that the press would be out of commission for several months. The group would have to use the services of a commercial printer in order to continue publishing, he said. The damage will also affect the Tamil daily Sudar Oli, which was printed on Leader Publications press.
The Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge described the attacked as a commando operation carried out on the government’s orders. Known for his investigations and critical editorials, Wickrematunge has been accused by ruling party parliamentarians of supporting the Tamil Tiger rebels. The government had planned to arrest him in late 2006 for revealing the construction of a luxurious presidential bunker in Colombo, but backed down for fear of triggering strong international criticism. An armed group already set fire to newspapers at the Leader Publications printing press in October 2005.”
The Editor’s Guild condemns attack
“The fact that the publications of the newspaper house viz., Irudina, The Sunday Leader and The Morning Leader have been severe critics of the incumbent government places a heavy burden on the administration to have ensured its safety. The natural inference that could be drawn from this attack is to the detriment of the government, which is already under the microscope locally and internationally for the abuse of human rights, individual liberties, democratic rights and media freedom.
While appreciating the difficulties faced by the government in combating terrorism, the Guild is firmly of the view that when democratic freedoms of the citizens, cherished for so long are trampled by the jackboots of anarchical forces in the manner it was done in this instance, it will negate the very purpose for which terrorism is being squashed, i.e. to permit democracy to flourish.
Investigations into countless incidents of a similar nature, throughout the country in recent times, including the murder of journalists, have not yielded results, with the government being unable or unwilling to bring the culprits to book.
The Guild believes that this brazen attack will add to Sri Lanka’s plunging record on media freedom should the government decide to treat the incident as just another statistic.”
IFJ dismayed at attack
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed at reports that an unidentified gang set fire to the Leader Publications printing house that publishes The Sunday Leader, the mid-weekly The Morning Leader and Sinhala weekly Irudina in Ratmalana.
The Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate said the recent critical position and civil defamation case taken by The Morning Leader editor against the Asia Tribune website is the likely motive for the attack. The fire completely destroyed the printing press. The damage is estimated at millions of rupees. In a similar attack in 2005, The Sunday Leader printing press was set on fire in the run up to the presidential election.
“This vicious attack underscores the dangers faced by the media in Sri Lanka,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director, Jacqueline Park. “The authorities must take immediate action to locate and punish the attackers. Journalism cannot flourish as long as this level of violence is tolerated.”
“The Sri Lankan government must put a stop to this culture of impunity that is paralysing media freedom in all regions of the country,” she said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the arson attack on a publishing house in Sri Lanka that destroyed the printing press of three newspapers critical of the government.
The English-language The Morning Leader and The Sunday Leader, and the Sinhala-language weekly Irudina are known for their critical stances towards Sri Lankan authorities. Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of The Sunday Leader, told journalists he believed the government was behind the attack, according to news reports.
“We are appalled by this act of violence against three independent Sri Lankan publications,” CPJ Executive Director, Joel Simon said. “It’s time official inquiries into press attacks in Sri Lanka yielded some results, to counteract the message that critical newspapers can be threatened with impunity.”
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered an inquiry into the attack, but results of similar inquiries launched in the past two years have yet to be made public.
An arson attempt against the same publishing house was prevented in 2005.
IPI strongly condemns
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, strongly condemns the armed raid on Leader Publications printing press and the arson attack on it.
“The attacks are surprising, as Leader Publications premises are part of an office complex located in a high security zone, given its proximity to the Colombo airport. It should be noted that all Leader publications are critical of the government and exponents of opposition political views. Editors of their newspapers have suffered harassment and threats over the last two years, and this is the second time in just over two years that the printing press belonging to the same publishing house has been subject to an arson attack, the last attack coming in October 2005.
“This latest attack on Leader Publications bears all the hallmarks of a highly organised attempt by groups who may be close to the government to silence any critical reporting,” said IPI Director, Johann P. Fritz. “Sri Lanka is a country with a deteriorating press freedom record. We urge the relevant authorities to do all in their power to apprehend the perpetrators, bring them to justice, and to work towards establishing a media environment in Sri Lanka where such attacks no longer occur,” he added.
Free media essential for democracy
The attack on The Sunday Leader printing press by a group of unknown assailants is an appalling incident. The group, armed with guns and clubs, forced staff members onto the ground and set fire to the printing machinery by throwing a petrol bomb. The National Peace Council deplores the increasing frequency with which newspaper staff are being targeted in this kind of violent attack.
During the past two years, 12 media personnel have been killed, with the Uthayan newspaper paying the highest price in terms of human life: five members of its staff have lost their lives in the service of journalism and the freedom of expression. The Sunday Leader newspaper has made a name for itself as an outspoken critic of the present government and as an advocate of a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict.
Threats of aggression and death issued to journalists who publish fact-based information judged by some to be injurious to political parties or powerful business interests symbolise a canker in the body politic. The National Peace Council affirms that the government has the responsibility to provide protection for all citizens who wish to pursue their constitutional right to freedom of expression and publication.
It is the right of all Sri Lankans, journalist or ordinary citizen, to exercise freedom of thought and expression. This right is guaranteed by Article 14 of the Sri Lankan Constitution, which states that, ‘Every citizen is entitled to [.] the freedom of speech and expression including publication.’
The National Peace Council expresses solidarity with those Sri Lankan journalists who are courageously committed to revealing realities from the ground and for risking their lives in the service of truth. We salute their determination to deliver accurate reporting and the willingness of media personnel to continue their work in the face of such fatal risks.
We call on the government to investigate these latest incidents and take legal action against the culprits. In addition we call on the government to put in place protection mechanisms that would ensure the safety of journalists in Sri Lanka and the right of Sri Lankan citizens to access a diverse media that provides free and accurate reporting on national affairs.
– Executive Director, on behalf of the Governing Council, National Peace Council
Arson attack a dangerous threat to democracy
During the term of the present government several instances of killings, abductions and harassment of media persons have been widely reported. No criminal responsible for those acts have so far been prosecuted nor the circumstances of the same discovered by the police. The public therefore perceive that sections of the government machinery are involved.
The armed attack on Leader Publications was the worst of its kind in recent times. It is alarming that an armed gang in a security zone had carried out this crime in the relatively silent early hours of November 21.
The criminal gang had successfully fled the scene of the crime thereafter notwithstanding the high security in the area and in-spite of the loud noise caused by a petrol bomb at the scene. This alone demonstrates the weakness of the security, or non enforcement of law and order on the part of the government. A similar incident reported during the times proximate to the period of terror in 1988 was when the Yukthiya press was attacked and set on fire. It was during the regime of the UNP, and the criminals were undetected then as well.
Therefore when the media is attacked and arson is resorted to, a suspicion of signs of a period of terror is inevitable. Therefore the government should rapidly conduct inquiries and prosecute the criminals to arrest this dangerous trend.
It was when Chandrika Kumaratunga was in office that Mahinda Rajapakse set up a fund to compensate journalists and media persons who were attacked by the police at Kollupitiya. Therefore it is expected that the President would compensate the Leader/Irudina papers whether they are covered by insurance or not. We call upon all those who are committed to democracy to come forward and condemn the arson attack at Leader/Irudina press and call for payment of adequate compensation for the same by the state.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara, General Secretary, Democratic Left Front
Most brazen attack – Newspaper Society
The Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka condemned the ‘savage attack’ on the building which houses the printing press of Leader Publications in Ratmalana.
A statement of the Newspaper Society said: “A 15 member armed and masked unit entered the Leader premises at Katukurunduwatte, Ratmalana in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The employees present at the premises were made to kneel down at gun point and the invaders systematically destroyed and set fire to the press.
“It is incomprehensible how at a time of high security and regular checks, an armed gang should have perpetrated such a depredation and we have a right to demand the Inspector General of Police and the Commanders of the Security Forces in charge of the Ratmalana area, what price is law and order?
“This has been the most brazen attack on a media house in recent times. It is equally an attack on the people’s right to information and dissent.
“We see this not as an isolated attack on a newspaper publisher. Sri Lanka’s record on media freedom has not been bright. The Leader newspapers have been a severe critic of the government which is all the more reason why the government must bring the culprits to book. Sri Lanka must not be perceived as a country where a person can be physically violated for his views and beliefs.
“It is a most dangerous trend that this government must immediately arrest if its citizens are to live as free men and women in a democratic society.”
PJASL condemns attack
The Parliamentary Journalists’ Association of Sri Lanka (PJASL) condemned the arson attack on the printing press of Leader Publications and called on the government to hold an impartial inquiry, with a view to bringing to book the culprits, irrespective of their office or position.
“Security of journalists and media institutions is imperative for safeguarding the sovereignty of the people and democracy. All those who uphold democracy must remember that journalists and media institutions represent the right of the people to access information,” Association President, Daya Perera told the media.
(1) Introduction to the Mervyn Silva Investigation
Mr. Mervyn Silva is a powerful Cabinet Minister in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Cabinet. Not afraid to get his hands dirty and use his several connections to the drug barons and underworld of Sri Lanka, Minister Silva is a law unto himself and is one of President Rajapakse’s most valuable attack dogs. Not unlike his father, Minister Silva’s son Malaka has been notorious for terrorizing Colombo and its nightspots and is also a paid government official in Minister Silva’s Ministry. No one dares speak out against the Silva family due to their connections both with the underworld and their immunity due to presidential patronage.
In September 2007 after a particularly gruesome attack on an innocent bystander allegedly by Malaka Silva, at a salsa club, I decided enough was enough and took the Silva family head on. I personally investigated the incident and continued to pressure the government with article after article that included details of Presidential patronage. Backed fully by the President, Minister Silva attempted to influence the judges, twist evidence, change the charge sheet and even had police officers that first handled the case transferred. I followed Mr. Silva’s machinations closely, backed up my investigations with documents and recorded interviews of lawyers, police officers and a large number of sources and pursued the case relentlessly. It would be the first time a journalist and a newspaper had dared to go after the Minister and his son so visibly.
On November 20, 2007 a Wednesday, our Newspaper presses (Factory) not surprisingly, fell under an arson attack. Lorry loads of The Morning Leader newspaper of which I am Editor in Chief, were burnt in the attack as they were being taken for distribution.
But I continued to investigate this case and stand up for what we believed was justice and fair play.
Three months after my exposès and articles, on December 27, 2007, Minister Mervyn Silva was to storm into the State-owned Television Station – The Rupavahini Corporation and threaten and manhandle its News Director. Mr. Silva had been irate that the TV Station had given coverage the day before to a speech that praised a political opponent. By now however my newspaper The Sunday Leader had given the lead and emboldened other journalists to stand up to this bully. At no other time would journalists working for the State and mindful of who their paymasters were, ever have thought of standing up to such a powerful government minister. This time they did. (See Article Titled ‘Boxing Mervyn Day’ at page 15 of this document)
Thus December 27 became a turning point for many journalists particularly for those who worked in State media. I believe this new found freedom was single handedly precipitated by The Sunday Leader’s relentless pursuit for truth, justice and fair play.
In September 2008, for this series, I won the prestigious International Award for Investigative Journalism – The Global Shining Light Award presented by the Global Investigative Journalists Conference in Norway.
Sri Lanka Project wins Global Award
Gun toting Malaka goes berserk again
Chaminda hit on face with pistol butt
Malaka’s body guards also pounce on Chaminda
Papa Mervyn moves for a compromise
Chaminda has 11 stiches on face and still suffering from dizzy spells
By Sonali Samarasinghe
PUBLISHED 09 SEPTEMBER 2007 :Malaka Manoj Silva has done it again. Embracing the hideous lifestyle that comes with too much money and too little guidance, Malaka is a product of a bad up bringing coupled with sleazy living that thrives in a musky world of thuggery, sex and drugs.
Malaka is also the son of Mervyn Silva, the Labour Minister in the Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. But who doesn’t know that. The fruit never falls far from the tree.
Last Thursday (6) the pleasant ambience of the Bistro Latino Restaurant and Salsa Bar was rudely shattered by the rowdy presence of Malaka, his body guards and his coterie of friends. By 11.30 p.m the floor that usually sizzled with the feet of salsa dancers was gruesomely spotted with the blood of Malaka’s latest victim.
Chaminda Senasinghe had lived most of his life in America. Working as a financial controller for the well known Baxter Pharmaceutical Company it was only a month and a half ago that he returned to his native land to be with his parents. Upon his return Chaminda soon got himself a job as financial manager at the S-lon company of the Maharaja Groupbut having lived away so long it was harder to find a set of friends.
Claudia was a German expatriate working in Sri Lanka with the GTZ under Roland Steurer who himself had only 48 hours earlier suffered a great personal loss with his 17 year old son found dead at the foot of Royal Park Residencies.
Claudia was an acquaintance of Chaminda’s brother, a lawyer who she had consulted regarding a legal issue. It was through his lawyer brother that Chaminda met Claudia. He had known Claudia for only as long as he had been in this country which wasn’t too long. So it was that on Thursday (6) at about 10.40 p.m Claudia and Chaminda had entered the restaurant premises to enjoy a quiet meal.
Also in the restaurant were Malaka and his body guards who at the time were hanging around with the jet-setting Diren Nirmalingam and some of his friends. Chaminda’s walk towards the restaurant table was interrupted by him stopping to talk to two other friends of his brother, Samanthi and Mark Muller. This stop would have taken him some two-three minutes before he joined Claudia at the table.
It was then that Chaminda realised something was up. A number of Malaka’s friends approached their table and spoke with Claudia deliberately ignoring Chaminda who was still standingin a manner that was perhaps aimed at embarrassing him.
It was then that Malaka approached. He first jostled Chaminda even as his friends purposely bumped into him a few times. In a flash Malaka then head butted Chaminda whono doubtwas obviously consumed with curiosity as to why he was getting so much fierce attention from the ministerial brat.
“You know who I am?” he asked Chaminda Senasinghe and even as Chaminda quizzically muttered “yes, what’s the problem,” Malaka was to say “I am Malaka Silva.”
Malaka had also allegedly said, ‘you are with my ex girl friend’ at which point Chaminda retorted, ‘That’s no problem, I’m just a friend of hers.’
Speaking to The Sunday Leader from the Nawaloka Hospital, Chaminda recounted those last moments before he fell to the floor only to be kicked and manhandled by about 10 persons.
Chaminda told The Sunday Leader he recognised some of those who attacked him to be security personnel of Malaka’s as ‘they wore those familiar grey uniforms.’ Chaminda alleges that having introduced himself so to speak, Malaka pulled out a pistol and aimed it at his head allegedly trying to shoot him at which time he managed to push his hand away. At that time Malaka, Chaminda alleges, rammed the butt of the pistol onto his temples hitting both sides.
After the alleged lightning assault Malaka and his security guards had quickly stormed out of the restaurant. In the restaurant at the time was Minnendra Chethya, a friend of Malaka’s who happens to work for Rosy Senanayake. It was Minnendra who eventually dragged Malaka out of the restaurant.
A security guard attached to the Bistro Latino said he saw the crowd that had engaged in the fight get into a car and a jeep and drive off. Meanwhile it was during the attack that Chaminda’s brother, was to get a call from his friend Samanthi saying Malaka is hitting Chaminda for no reason. However Chaminda says that nobody came to help him even when he was on the floor. This he attributes to the fact that people who knew Malaka were scared for their own safety.
Ironically later at about 1.30 a.m Rosy Senanayake was to call Chaminda’sbrother and prevail upon him not to take any action and to settle the matter.
Meanwhile bleeding badly and on the floor Chaminda was later helped by Claudia and walked to his car and proceeded to the National Hospital for treatment where he had to have some 11 stitches on his face.
No good Samaritan came to help as the badly injured Chaminda managed to drive himself to the National Hospital with Claudia also by his side and a three wheeler in front guiding him to the location as Chaminda was not familiar with the roads.
After visiting hospital Chaminda lodged a complaint at the Bambalapitiya Police Station. However Malaka had made it to the police station before Chaminda and had himself made a complaint indicating a small bruise on the bridge of his nose and stating a group of persons had assaulted him.
Meanwhile Chaminda who ever since the attack had been having dizzy spells had contacted Dr. Maiya Gunasekera at the Nawaloka Hospital and proceeded to take several tests including head scans. It was when he was at the Nawaloka Hospital that the Judicial Medical Officer had also visited him as part of the on going inquiries.
It is reliably learnt that after some deliberation Malaka had attempted later in the day to get himself admitted to Asiri Hospital complaining of concussion. The Sunday Leader called Malaka Silva but he was not available for comment. However our number was taken by a person who refused to divulge his name with a promise a message would be conveyed to Malaka.
The Sunday Leader spoke to the Bambalapitiya police who confirmed two complaints had been made regarding the incident and an inquiry was underway.
Restaurant Manager of the Bistro Latino,Roshan told The Sunday Leader that the incident had occurred at about 11 p.m and that it happened quite suddenly with no indication at all that a fight was brewing. As it was Thursday and ‘Salsa Night,’ Roshan said the place was quite crowded but said they were in the process of closing up for the night when the incident occurred.
He also said that some guests had hurried out of the premises in fright not even paying their bills but promising to come back later to settle up. Roshan said he immediately informed Keith Muller, the owner of the restaurant about the incident but that no police complaint was made as no damage had been suffered by the restaurant. He also maintained he did not know the parties involved in the fracas.
Fight over a female
Co-owner of the restaurant, Narmada Muller told The Sunday Leader she and her husband Keith had not been in the restaurant at the time but had received a phone call from their restaurant manager who had described the incident. According to the information received Muller said, her staff had seen two persons on the ground and the fight appeared to be over a female.
A reliable source told The Sunday Leader Malaka had been following this girl for over a month and may have had a relationship with her as he allegedly claimed.
However the same source who did not wish to be named said Malaka had about a month or two back come out of the Galadari Hotel entrance from the Tramps Nightclub inside and shouted absolute filth at a foreign girl who was standing at the entrance for transport. The girl had looked back and stared at him too embarrassed to say anything. Be that as it may The Sunday Leader spoke to Claudia who said she did not want to comment on the incident or her connection if any with Malaka.
Chaminda relates gruesome incident
Malaka told me Claudia was his ex girl friend and I said no problem because we are just friends. He then asked me whether I knew who he was and then hehead-butted me. He said his name was Malaka Silva and pulled out a pistol and pointed it at me and would have shot me. But I managed to push the pistol away from me. At that time he hit me on the sides of my head with the butt of the pistol.
About 10 to 15 persons attacked me and as I fell to the ground they were kicking me. I saw persons in grey suits and knew they were body guards.
Malaka’s track record
Malaka Silva and two of his bodyguards on November 2, 2006 pleaded guilty to attacking attacking Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) officers who were on a drug raid at a night club in a five star hotel.
Colombo High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne ordered each of them to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000 each and enter into a bond in Rs 100,000 each to be of good behaviour for one year. The accused were Malaka Silva and his bodyguards Sampath Kumara Rajapakse and Prasanna Kumara Suresh. The judge ordered that the compensation be directed to the Police Rewards Fund.
In a direct indictment by the Attorney General the three accused were charged with willfully causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty. Malaka Silva was charged with intimidating and obstructing the PNB team which went on a narcotics raid with a court order to the night club My Kind of Place at Taj Samudra in the early hours of July 24, 2005.
The accused were indicted with assaulting police personnel including PC R.W. A. Dayan Lasantha – an offence punishable under Section 323 of the Penal Code.
According to the statements given by PNB officers and PNB OIC Buddhika Balachandra at the magisterial inquiry, on the said date the narcotics team, on a tip-off had raided the night club to arrest an ‘ecstasy’ dealer who was said to have been trafficking the drug at the hotel. When the PNB officers who were in plain clothes were leaving the night club after completing the ten-minute raid, Malaka Silva had obstructed them and abused them in foul language. Malaka Silva had allegedly threatened the police officer at gunpoint and assaulted the police officers. Later he had called his bodyguard who was armed with a pistol and attacked the police officers.
The PNB team had allegedly withdrawn from the place as the accused were armed and as they did not want to create a problem there. Later they had complained to the Colombo Fort police station.
The accused had later surrendered to the police station. Ironically two days after the attack former Police Chief, Chandra Fernando, announced the release of Malaka Silva and his mates saying that there was no evidence. Media reported that the police were under pressure not to work hard on the case.
In his attempt to defend his son, Mervyn Silva abused journalists in filth and stated that he knows what to do with the owners of Sirasa and Swarnavahini – two privately owned media outlets.
Earlier in connection with this trial Malaka had also been banned from entry into night clubs after 7 p.m with a warning that if the ban were violated the one million rupee bail on the two persons would be converted to a fine and charged from them.
Chaminda’s brother speaks to Rajapakse bros
Chaminda’s brother Dr. Namal Senasinghe who lives in London was one angry man on hearing of the incident and had telephoned President Mahinda Rajapakse directly. The President had promised Namal he will direct the IGP to hold an impartial inquiry and take appropriate action. What action will be taken remains to be seen.
In fact so angry was Namal, he was to also call Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse and ask, ‘what is happening in your banana republic? Can’t a maneven go for a quiet dinner without getting attacked by goons?’ The Defence Secretary was also very apologetic and assured action will be taken to ensure an impartial investigation is conducted.
Mervyn looks for deal
When it comes to politicians everything is a fix and there is no party politics either with everyone attempting to cover up for their friends
This case was no different with Minister Mervyn Silva approaching UNP MP Vajira Abeywardene to explore the possibility of settling the issue amicably. Minister Silva had according to Abeywardene had said he was prepared for any settlement if Chaminda Senasinghe can be approached to drop the matter. Abeywardene had related the request to Chaminda’s brother.
OIC Bambalapitiya says
OIC Bambalapitya, Abeyratne Dissanayake told Media Malaka Manoj Silva had made a complaint to the police station at about 11.30 p.m that he had been assaulted inside a restaurant on Duplication Road (R.A. De Mel Mawatha). He had indicated that he needed to go to the hospital. So at that time he was sent to the hospital.
‘As soon as the incident was recorded a team was sent to the location but at that time the club was closed. Then at about 1.15 a.m another person came to the police station. He was wearing a long sleeved white shirt. The shirt was smeared with blood. On his head and near his ear he had plasters. He said that a person had assaulted him inside the club. We are continuing with our inquiries. We realised that one was a person in a respectable job. The other was Minister Mervyn Silva’s son. We have already started investigations. We are also awaiting the JMO report.’
– END –
How the Govt. attempted to fix Malaka’s case
President goes with Mervyn to retain Denzil Gunaratne PC for Malaka
DIG goes with Mervyn to Malaka’s lawyer’s house to discuss charge sheet
Police blasted by Mahinda for not helping Mervyn
Defence Advisor castigated by President for recommending justice
Mervyn meets Magistrate’s husband to fix case unsuccessfully
Mervyn orders police to downplay injuries in report
OIC Bamba sidelined after getting remand order and case taken over by DIG
Neurologist who secured doctorate for Mervyn gives MC to Malaka
Claudia says Malaka pulled her by the hand and she resisted
By Sonali Samarasinghe
PUBLISHED 16 SEPTEMBER 2007: While the country watched in disgust, Labour Minister Mervyn Silva was last week seen making desperate attempts to intimidate and influence the prisons, the judiciary and the police to subvert the course of justice on behalf of his son Malaka.
The 31 year old Malaka is the Private Secretary to the Labour Minister and therefore together with his father an official of government being sustained by the public of this country.
Shockingly Silva’s intimidatory tactics was to receive ample side support from none other than the highest in the land, the politically insecure President Mahinda Rajapakse – a man who would do the most despicable to keep his job. And the tale that we are to unfold will shock even the most ardent of Rajapakse loyalists if nothing else for the mere attempts to subvert the due process of law.
Silva and Rajapakse go a long way. It was Silva as a young, unemployed village lad in those days who was to help Rajapakse in his political campaign in Beliatte in 1970. When Rajapakse took office in November 2005, it was again Silva who felt it his duty to erect a massive billboard at the eye hospital roundabout naming Rajapakse the country’s next Dutugemunu. Earlier Silva himself claimed he was a descendent of Dutugemunu.
Last Thursday at about 11.30 p.m Mervyn’s son Malaka and 10 of his friends and body guards were to set upon 37 year old Chaminda Senasinghe, an accountant who had only a month back returned from the United States to serve his country, at the Bistro Latino Restaurant and Salsa Bar, allegedly ramming the butt of a 9 mm gun in his face and assaulting him mercilessly as he fell to the ground.
The provocation seemed to be that Senasinghe had arrived at the Bistro for dinner together with a recent acquaintance of his, Claudia Kreussler. Claudia had been by all accounts an ex-girl friend of Malaka’s. And therein lies the rub.
As the wheels of justice started to turn on Malaka, a well known club bully with a track record known to both the police and the public at large, Minister Mervyn Silva went on a rampage of intimidation.
On Monday (10) early morning, Dr. Asoka Jayasena, a consultant at the Jayewardenepura Government Hospital (SJGH) was to receive several calls repeatedly to his mobile phone from Mervyn Silva. However Jayasena was in the operating theatre and according to eye witnesses had been unable to answer the calls.
For Mervyn there was a real urgency. His son’s case was being heard that very morning and he was determined to ‘get to the judge’ before the case was taken up in open court.
Not giving up, at about 9.30 a.m Mervyn rushed over to the hospital and went straight to see Dr. D.D.Ranasinghe, the chairman of the SJGH and asked to somehow speak to Dr. Jayasena. Ranasinghe was appointed chairman by Rajapakse on the insistence of Dr. Ranawaka, a well known confidant and advisor to the President.
Attempting to influence the judiciary
Thus Ranasinghe willingly escorted the government Minister to Jayasena’s ward and it did not take a second before Mervyn was to barge in to the theatre and speak to Jayasena. He entreated the doctor in front of several witnesses to prevail upon his wife Aishanee Jayasena, Chief Magistrate at the Mount Lavinia Courts not to take any action against his son and to go easy on him.
However Aishanee Jayasena, a tough judge is well known to take a dim view of such tactics and had in any event moved the case from her court due to a conflict of interest.
Intimidating the police
Trying to quickly cover all his bases and in his twisted mind thinking he had covered the judiciary, Mervyn was to now rush to the Colpetty police station. Between 10.30 and 11a.m Mervyn Silva in full view of several members of the public and other police officers was to barge into the Colpetty police station lobby.
He was to speak to ASP Palitha Siriwardena and tell him loudly in the presence of civilians and other officers that the police must down play the incident and state that it was a case of simple hurt where minor injuries had been suffered, when preparing their police report.
ASP Siriwardena had than according to witnesses reasoned with Mervyn stating the police had done everything they could possibly do. Silva had gone ballistic shouting ‘Thamusela Janadhipathi kiyana de wath karanna be, Mama Araliya Gaha Mandirayata den yanawa, Mama Janadhipathita kiyanawa.’ (You people don’t even carry out orders given by the President. I’m going to Temple Trees now, I am going to tell the President).
By now the President was also fully involved in the drama pulling punches to get Malaka off the hook.
MR as junior lawyer
That night Mahinda Rajapakse casting security aside was to accompany Mervyn Silva to President’s Counsel Denzil Gunaratne’s chambers for a consultation. Gunaratne was appointed a PC by Rajapakse and it was the President himself who was to arrange Gunaratne as counsel for Malaka. The President and Gunaratne go back a long way and has represented him personally in several cases including the Helping Hambantota matter.
In fact it was Gunaratne who on behalf of Rajapakse spoke to the late K.C. Kamalasabayson PC, former Attorney General and advised him to resign prematurely, a fact the then Attorney General confirmed to this newspaper at the time.
But more sinister moves were already being made. The case which was being handled by the Bambalapitiya police was now taken away to be handled directly by DIG Colombo, Rohan Abeywardena though for forms sake it was kept within the jurisdiction of the Bambalapitiya police.
The plan was that the DIG would ensure the case came under a charge of simple hurt and the B report detail only minor injuries to the victim. Abeywardena was to also ensure that there would be no mention of a weapon used and therefore no charges under the Firearms Ordinance could be filed thereby literally letting the club bully Malaka get bail as a matter of course.
Abeywardena who was due to retire last Friday (14) was expected by his masters to set the stage for such a scenario as perhaps his last Hurrah before retirement.
And by now President Rajapakse had girded up his loins and was willing to get his hands dirty as well. He was to call up the Colpetty police from Temple Trees and blast them right royally. “What are you people trying to do to me,” he said. “Mervyn ape miniha” he said. Scolding the police he also said that at a time 11-12 members wanted to leave, he did not want Mervyn to leave as well.
It was not that Rajapakse did not have wiser counsel. M.D. Fernando, one of his presidential advisors on defence was to call him and entreat him to desist from hasty action. He told the President that the police by taking a tough, independent stand had saved him, the country and the reputation of the police. Fernando was to ask the President what he thought Mervyn had done to help him and had also told him that letting justice take its course was a good thing and would enhance his popularity.
Mahinda Rajapakse had been visibly angry saying “What do these people know what is good for me, I know what is good for me.” The President was to later slam the telephone and tell those in his presence Fernando was out of touch with reality. Pulling all the strings available, Mervyn had also spoken to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse seeking help but to his credit, the Defence Secretary opted not to twist the arm of the police to subvert justice.
OIC Bamba kicked out
But by this time the cancer had already started to spread. Mervyn had told DIG Abeywardena not to send Chief Inspector Abeyratne Dissanayake, the OIC Bambalapitiya for the case and it could easily be seen why. It was Dissanayake who had made submissions on the first day in court and had filed a B report which included details of a 9 mm gun being used by Malaka, severe injuries to Chaminda Senasinghe the victim, and also stated that Malaka had a scratch on his nose and had no other injuries according to Malaka himself who had been specifically asked this by the police officer recording his statement. It was obvious the inclusion of Dissanayake in the police team would be detrimental to Malaka.
It was equally obvious that the government and its Minister Mervyn was using senior police officers, prison officials and the JMO to subvert the course of justice and also interfering with key witnesses to the drama.
Chaminda Senasinghe was to lament to the media that no one helped him as he lay bleeding on the ground because they feared for their lives. A week later the wishy washy statements by eye witnesses that do not tally with the injuries suffered by one party merely demonstrate the fear psychosis that exists in the minds of the club going society when it comes to Malaka and his gun toting goons.
But let’s throw our minds back to the incidents of last Thursday, September 6. The incident took place at the Bistro Latino between 10.30 and 11p.m. After the assault Malaka and his goons stormed out of the restaurant while a battered and bleeding Chaminda Rupanath Senasinghe of 3V Chelsea Gardens, Colpetty lay hurt on the ground.
Chaminda was to first rush to the National Hospital where he was treated for facial injuries. He was to go to hospital accompanied by his dinner companion Claudia Kreussler, the apparent cause of Malaka’s distress.
And even at that time Malaka had already started to work on possible witnesses. Not minutes after the incident Claudia received several phone calls from Malaka on her mobile and she was repeatedly asked where Chaminda Senasinghe was.
Malaka it is reliably learnt did not give up on Claudia and had repeatedly kept calling even later, a fact borne out by the phone records.
Be that as it may, after his treatment at the hospital Chaminda proceeded to the Bambalapitiya police station and at about 1.15 a.m on the morning of September 7 made his complaint.
The complaint stated that Malaka Silva had attacked him with what appeared to be a 9 mm pistol and had bashed him on the head with the butt of his gun. As he fell to the ground about 10 of Malaka’s friends had mercilessly assaulted him. No one had come to assist him while he was being beaten, he had also stated.
Meanwhile at 11.35 p.m Malaka who did not have any injuries except a scrape on his nose according to original police records was to also make a complaint. Malaka who resides at 296/7, Park Road, Colombo 5 said that an unknown person in a long sleeved shirt had assailed him and having asked him whether he was Malaka Silva had then slapped him across the face and kicked him wherein he had fallen to the ground. On seeing him fallen the people in the club had come up to him, he also stated.
On the next day September 7, Chaminda Senasinghe due to his head injuries and a feeling of dizziness was to consult Dr. Maiya Gunasekera and undergo a series of scans at Nawaloka Hospital before he returned to the National Hospital for observation.
Malaka in a prudent move was to also take up rooms at the Asiri Private Hospital. As it turns out not only patriotism but also hospitals are now fast becoming the refuge of scoundrels.
Original B report
While both Chaminda and Malaka were laid out in hospital, on Monday, September 10 OIC Bambalapitiya police Abeyaratne Dissanayake filed a B report in the Mount Lavinia Magistrate court in case number B/4455/07 citing Malaka Silva as the suspect.
The report stated that the police had not observed any injury other than a scratch on the nose on Malaka while they observed a lot of blood on the shirt worn by Chaminda Senasinghe, and two plasters on the sides of his head where injuries had been attended to.
The report also made mention of a 9 mm pistol used to assault the victim and the OIC therefore stated that the charges should be filed under the Penal Code and the Firearms Ordinance. The police noted that the JMO report had not yet been given and that Claudia’s statement was still to be recorded.
Dissanayake told court that since Chaminda Senasinghe had been severely injured he had gone to the Asiri Hospital room 210 on Sunday, September 9 at 11.20 a.m and proceeded to arrest Malaka Silva.
OIC Dissanayake requested court to remand the suspect Malaka Silva until September 19 until further investigations can be carried out.
The case was taken up before the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate on the morning of Monday, September 10 but was referred to Colombo Chief Magistrate Courts as both the suspect and the complainant were in hospitals situated in areas that came under the Chief Magistrate’s jurisdiction.
Colombo Chief Magistrate Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena who visited suspect Malaka Silva at Asiri Hospital remanded him till Wednesday 12. However Malaka was allowed to remain in hospital. The usual practice on remanding him President’s Counsel M.L.M. Ameen, lawyer for Chaminda Senasinghe told The Sunday Leader, would have been to remove him to the remand prison upon the order being made. That the prison authorities did not do.
Ameen told The Sunday Leader that only if the remand hospital had no facilities to treat Malaka was it in the discretion of the superintendent of prisons to allow him to use the services of a private facility.
So it was that when the case was taken up in the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s court on Wednesday (12) it was not Malaka but his father Mervyn who was present in court. Mervyn and a coterie of security goons arrived in the courts in three jeeps.
Funnily enough giving credence to the information that Mervyn Silva with the help of President Rajapakse was allegedly bent on ‘fixing’ the case, OIC Dissanayake who had prepared the original incriminating B report had been removed from the proceedings and a new police officer, one Chief Inspector Gunasekera put in his place.
On cue the police last Wednesday considerably changed their story from the original B report and said there was no one who supported the story of a firearm being used. Interestingly, President Rajapakse was to say much the same to Chaminda’s brother, Attorney Sujeewa Senasinghe when they met in Kandy over the weekend at a rugby match. The President on being told his brother was assaulted with the butt of a gun had made light of it stating it might have been some other small instrument.
Despite the fact that Chaminda Senasinghe was in the National Hospital being treated for severe injuries to the head and face with several stitches to boot, the police in a complete turn around was to now downplay the incident stating it was a matter of simple hurt where the parties had suffered minor injuries.
Accordingly, Rajapakse’s old friend Denzil Gunaratne, senior counsel for Malaka was to make an application for bail on September 12 stating the matter was merely an altercation at a club and should be referred to the mediation board.
M.L.M. Ameen, PC meanwhile was adamant. He said the police had filed charges under the Firearms Ordinance and that it was a non bailable offence. He also detailed several instances where the police had backtracked on their original statements to court and said his client had no confidence in the police, the prisons or the administration but that the judiciary was his only hope. Ameen also urged court that in this backdrop the Attorney General should be brought in to peruse all documents filed in court and to assist court. That application was made in the firm belief Attorney General C.R. De Silva will act honourably and not countenance any pressure brought to bear on the law enforcing authorities.
Ameen also said that since there was an allegation that some 10 or more persons had assaulted his client there was also the unlawful assembly charge to be looked at.
Magistrate Darshika Wimalasiri remanded the suspect and ordered him to be produced in court on September 13.
Meanwhile Mervyn Silva was seen bounding out of court and greeting President’s Counsel Ameen with a cheery ‘Hello Mr. Ameen’ while the senior criminal lawyer hurried away to another court.
On September 13 Malaka arrived in court in an ambulance and claimed he was feeling vomitish no doubt pregnant with hope bail would be forthcoming given the leg work done by the high and mighty. Magistrate Wimalasiri however remanded the suspect until September 19 stating the court had no jurisdiction to grant bail as Malaka had been taken to custody under the Firearms Ordinance. She said a bail application should be made to the High Court.
It is reliably learnt that several judges including Chief Magistrate Aishanee Jayasena who plays a supervisory role over the other magistrates had discussed the legal implications and ramification of the case and had been advised that the judiciary must rely on the original report rather than the second B report which attempted to downplay the offence.
The subsequent B report which was filed by Police Inspector Gunasekera did not refer to any firearm being used and described the injuries as minor, falling within a simple hurt charge which could be referred to the mediation board.
It was obvious that there had been a foul game afoot as the man who was unceremoniously dumped from the police proceedings Dissanayake, had even openly told the media that when Chaminda Senasinghe had come to the police station his shirt was smeared with blood, that he had plasters on his head and near his ear – a statement which was not only commensurate with pictures taken immediately following the incident, but also with his original B report.
In a move that would no doubt strengthen the public’s flagging confidence in the judiciary, on Thursday Magistrate Wimalasiri refused to accept the second B report filed in court by Gunasekera.
It is only then due to a vigilant judiciary that the high and mighty could not subvert the process of justice to satisfy a political blackguard.
|Malaka gets medical certificate from neurologistDespite the fact that Malaka’s own statement to the police made just half an hour after the incident stated that he had merely got a scratch on the nose and having denied he had any other injury when specifically asked the question by the police officer recording his statement, Malaka was to develop various medical ailments as the heat increased. Last Thursday he came to court in an ambulance covered from neck to toe and told Magistrate Wimalasiri he was feeling ‘vomitish.’ He produced a medical certificate signed by Prof. Dr. Geethanjana Mendis, a consultant in neurology and director of sports medicine.However Geethanjana Mendis was to give the certificate as a personal friend and Malaka is under the care of one Dr Sriyantha Mendis, a physician at Asiri Hospital.Dr. Geethanjana Mendis is the chairman and trustee of Medicina Alternativa (MA) founded by the late Prof. Anton Jayasuriya and a top man in the Open International University for Complementary Medicine (OIUCM) affiliated to MA. The trust itself is under a cloud as many counter claims have been made that various persons are the inheritors of the legal status to both these institutions.But Mendis and Silva are old buddies. In fact it was Mendis who was instrumental in getting Mervyn Silva a cap and a gown and a prefix of ‘Dr.’ before his name.The Sunday Leader has it on good authority that it was none other than Dr. Mendis who introduced Mervyn Silva to the late Prof. Anton Jayasuriya and recommended to the late professor who was at the time quite unaware of Mervyn’s contributions to society that he be conferred an honorary doctorate by this university.It is now this neurologist who is churning out medical certificates for Malaka.AG asked to actLawyers for Chaminda Senasinghe met the Attorney General C.R. De Silva on Friday (14) at 11.30 am and delivered a letter detailing the several incidents that had occurred causing their client to lose confidence in the police and prison administration.
The letter called upon the Attorney General to peruse the records in the case and directly indict the suspect under the law.
Earlier Malaka had been indicted by the AG on charges of willfully causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty. Malaka had threatened a police officer at gun point and intimidated and attacked a Police Narcotics Bureau team in the early hours of July 24, 2005. Malaka pleaded guilty and the High Court judge ordered each of the three accused including Malaka to pay compensation and be of good behaviour for one year. Malaka should well have known that he is still under the conditions of the High Court and well within the period of enforced good behaviour which would end only on November 2, 2007.
Mervyn visits Denzil with Colombo DIG
Establishing a clear conflict of interest, last Thursday (13) night, Mervyn Silva accompanied by DIG Colombo Rohan Abeywardena and a team of police officers went to meet Malaka Silva’s lawyer Denzil Gunaratne PC, for a consultation. They took with them the Medico Legal Report to confer with the defence lawyer on how best it could be used to the advantage of Malaka.
Gunaratne was to advise the police that they should frame charges of simple hurt, a charge that could be referred to the mediation board given the contents of the Medico Legal Report.
What is shocking is that the suspect’s father is being accompanied by the police who are the complainants in the case to the residence of the suspect’s lawyer to discuss how best the case can be filed to benefit the suspect Malaka Silva. Mervyn was to later boast that he went with the DIG to Gunaratne’s house. And that was not the only occasion either.
The Sunday Leader called Gunaratne for his comments on this meeting but Gunaratne said the media should not call him for his comments regarding privileged information with his clients but just write if the sources are good. It should be noted that Gunaratne did not deny that the DIG visited him in the company of Mervyn.
However Gunaratne seems to be missing the point. The point is not whether he divulges any privileged communication but whether there is an attempt by the police to subvert the course of justice. Is it not a blatant conflict of interest when a senior police officer accompanies the suspect’s father for a consultation with the suspect’s lawyer and decides on the nature of the charge sheet? Mind you this is after a B report had been filed and Malaka arrested under the firearms law. This visit is even more damning as the original OIC Dissanayake who had filed the first B report was removed from the proceedings and replaced with a policeman of their choice.
What if this happened to your son, Chaminda’s bro asks President
Dr. Namal Senasinghe, the elder brother of Chaminda earlier spoke with both President Mahinda Rajapakse and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse on the incident. Both Rajapakses assured Namal there would be no government interference. However on September 11, Namal was to write to President Rajapakse in disgust. The following is the full text of the letter.
“Dear Mr. President,
Nothing has happened with my brother’s issue. You and I know that he is the victim and Silva’s son is the assailant. In fact the whole country knows it. There is political influence on police. Probably not from you. I have lost faith in Sri Lanka. This is a country only for the politicians to live. Might as well make everybody in Sri Lanka a politician.
Just think if this happened to one of your kids. How would you react? The assailant is in a hospital with minimal or no injuries. I won’t be surprised soon the victim becomes the accused.
At least now do justice and let police arrest the culprit. If you really love the youth in Sri Lanka as you say in your speeches you should show it to the nation by deeds. The youth should not be harassed by thugs.
Let the JMO Dr. Salgado who has seen the victim and assailant give evidence in the case, Unless the police arrest him I cannot see it happening. But we will fight to the last. I still have some faith in the judiciary. Thank god I am a British citizen.
Dr. Namal Senasinghe MBBS FFARCS”
Chaminda Senasinghe who had last Friday consulted Dr. Maiya Gunasekera to run a series of tests including scans, was again referred to the National Hospital for treatment by Dr. Gunasekera who felt his condition was bad.
Chaminda is suffering from a series of injuries including the fracture of one tooth, sight impairment in his right eye, 11 stitches on his face and head apart from contusions and abrasions including a large blood clot on his eye. Chaminda is also receiving treatment for trauma.
Blunt instrument used -JMO
The JMO report which had not been prepared when the original B report was filed by OIC Bambalapitiya was made available on Thursday to the authorities. It stated that Chaminda Senasinghe was suffering from injuries not amounting to grievous hurt caused by a blunt instrument. The report was signed by Dr. Tharaka Alvitigala.
Given the fact that Mervyn Silva himself had arrived in full force at the Colpetty police station on Monday morning even as the case was being transferred temporarily over a technical matter from Mount Lavinia to Colombo Magistrate’s Court, threatening the police they should convert the charge into one of simple hurt, suspicion arises as to the authenticity and genuineness of any report or certificate flowing from this case.
Earlier a former senior JMO, Dr. Salgado had examined both Chaminda Senasinghe at Nawaloka Hospital and Malaka Silva at Asiri Hospital.
I saw Malaka’s security assaulting Chaminda – Claudia
Claudia Kreussler, the 29 year old German lady who triggered such a violent response from Malaka, works for German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in the office of its Head, Dr. Roland Steurer. It was Steurer’s 17 year old son, Rito Carl Joseph who on that fateful morning of Monday, September 3 was found dead at the bottom of Tower B of the Royal Park complex.
It is not three days later before Claudia herself was involved in a violent exchange which luckily did not end as tragically as it did for Rito, her boss’s young son.
These bizarre connections apart Claudia on September 11 was to make a statement to the police. Mind you by this time Mervyn’s moving and shaking had begun to work and the case had been entirely hijacked by DIG Colombo, Rohan Abeywardena.
So it was that her statement was recorded by the Bambalapitiya police in the presence of DIG Abeywardena at about 11a.m on Tuesday, September 11. Claudia was present with an official from the consular section of the German Embassy, Martina Kostbahn-Kuster and her lawyers, President’s Counsel Upali Gunaratne and Attorney Tharanga Pandithsundera.
Influenced by lawyers
Impeccable sources told The Sunday Leader Claudia may have been influenced by her lawyers in Germany to desist from mentioning any names while her local lawyer Upali Gunaratne PC had allegedly told Attorney Sujeewa Senasinghe in the presence of a senior lawyer that she may have been frightened.
DIG Abeywardena of course was aware that Claudia was coming in to make the statement hence his presence at the Bambalapitiya police.
It is in this formidable backdrop that Claudia made her statement regarding the events of that night. This is an English translation of the Sinhala script.
Stating she lived at No. 25, Anula Road, Colombo 6 she said she had entered the Bistro Latino club in Bambalapitiya at about 11 p.m on September 6 together with her friend Chaminda Senasinghe.
“As we entered Chaminda saw some of his friends and we went over to talk to them. Then we went and sat at an empty table with about 4-6 chairs. Malaka Silva whom I know and some of his friends were sitting at another table and I heard my name being called. Without going up to him I said hello.
Held me by the hand
A waiter then handed us a menu and before we could order Malaka came over to my table held me by the hand and tried to pull me but I resisted it. He told me to come to his table. I told him I wanted to remain at the table I was sitting at. At that time Malaka started to say something to Chaminda but I did not hear what. Then I started to watch the people on the dance floor. Suddenly I found Chaminda fallen on the dance floor. Then I saw several of Malaka’s security personnel including some I know, assaulting Chaminda. I then asked the people assaulting Chaminda not to beat him.
I did not see the wound that caused him to bleed. But they continued to hit him. Chaminda who was on the ground was trying to shield his face and head with his hands. After the assault stopped Chaminda got up from the floor and looked for his mobile phone and inquired from those around where the nearest hospital was. Then I noticed that there was nobody at Malaka’s table. Then I went with Chaminda in his car to the hospital. Chaminda had asked a three wheeler to show him the way and we followed it. Then I went home.
Q How do you know Malaka
A: I know him since October 2006
Q: Did you see Malaka assaulting Chaminda
A: No I was looking towards the dance floor and they were talking behind me.
Q: Did you see any weapon in Malaka’s hand?
– END –
Malaka and Jessica Lal
By Sonali Samarasinghe
PUBLISHED 30 SEPTEMBER 2007: It will perhaps come naturally to one now as one makes one’s gastronomic and may be even epicurean choices of an evening, to casually inquire of the maitre d’hotel at a restaurant and night club if the likes of Malaka Silva will be likely to mosey in at any moment. It is the last person with whom a person of slender physique or not, who’s decided to mangle a bit of dinner, would wish to be alone with in confined spaces.
For the restaurants/night clubs that prefer to entice a better class of clientele it is perhaps advisable to include in their menu card not only a list of elegant cuisine but also a list of what they don’t serve – to whit: a dose of Malaka Silva and company.
Last Thursday the High Court was to issue notice to the OIC, Bambalapitiya police in connection with the bail application filed by his mother, Mary Lucinda of 296, Park Road, Colombo 5. As a mother would, she reportedly complained to court Malaka was being harassed merely because he was the son of Mervyn, who was a minister in the present government.
For night clubs and restaurants already severely hit by the economic crisis and the lag in tourism, their lifeline is the local customer. But a local customer with big bucks who takes up personal space and pistol whips other customers and even police officers, the message – unless these owners have what may be called a nostalgie de la boue, a nostalgia for mud – should be clear.
And for the Malaka Silvas of this world who strut around full of beans and buck intent on creating mayhem, followed by security guards paid for by the public, unless something drastic is done, as the Romans say, it will be merely a case of abeunt studia in mores – practices zealously pursued passing into habits.
Where to get off
It is about time some public spirited person came along and told not only Malaka Silva and his daddy but also the rest of these government goons who tear around like crazed mustangs on a crowded street, whipping out lamp posts and knocking down innocent bystanders, where to get off. Not that one could expect these barbarians who live on public funds to burn with shame and remorse, but it’s worth a try.
President Mahinda Rajapakse if he understands nothing else, being a father of three should understand this. The country cannot go on bringing up wolves.
As the genteel stand staring incredulously thinking that in Sri Lanka if it wasn’t one thing it was bound to be something else, a handful of half wits continue to disfigure the Colombo scene by galloping about in black Pajeros wielding guns, thinking all along they are somebody.
And this is where the famous Jessica Lal case in New Delhi must again come into focus. Jessica Lal was a model working as a celebrity barmaid at leading socialite Bins Ramani’s party on April 29,1999. Ramani was hosting the party at her restaurant Tamarind Court Caf� when Lal was shot dead. Dozens of witnesses pointed to Siddharth Vashisht, a.k.a. Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and powerful Congress politician in Haryana, as the murderer.
The trial which lasted seven years due reportedly to inadequacies in investigation and prosecution resulted in Manu Sharma and a number of others being acquitted on February 21, 2006.
Ironically in the years that Manu Sharma has been free on bail, he had set up the thriving Blue Ice night spot and disco in Chandigarh.
However the Indian media did not let up. Pressurising the powers that be to such an extent the prosecution appealed – a rare occurrence – and the Delhi High Court heard the appeal over 25 days. The lower court judgment was overturned and Manu Sharma was found guilty of the murder of Jessica Lal. He was sentenced to life on December 20, 2006.
According to media reports several youngsters and models were serving drinks at the ‘Once upon a time’ bar, including Jessica Lal and her friends Malini Ramani and Shyan Munshi.
At about 0200 hours when the party was almost over, Manu Sharma with his friends Amardeep Singh, Alok Khanna, Amit Jhingan and Vikas Yadav, allegedly entered the restaurant and demanded liquor from Jessica.
Since the bar was closing Sharma was told that no more drinks would be served. After some altercation, Sharma lost his temper and fired his gun – once in the air and the second time at Jessica. The bullet struck her temple and she died on the spot.
Sharma fled from the restaurant, leaving his car which was later moved by his friends. During an intense hunt for Sharma over a week, three of his friends were arrested, but Sharma himself went underground. His father, Venod Sharma was asked to step down as Congress Party chief in the state.
Eventually Manu Sharma surrendered on May 6 in Chandigarh. Subsequently the fourth person, Vikas Yadav, son of D.P. Yadav, another heavyweight minister from Uttar Pradesh with Mafia connections, also surrendered.
Meanwhile a sting operation by the newsmagazine Tehelka exposed how Venod Sharma paid bribes to win over key witnesses, and Venod Sharma resigned from the Haryana Ministry on October 6, 2006.
There are lessons to be learned from India.
– END –
AG asked to charge Malaka for attempted murder
Why the Bistro Latino case must be kept in focus
By Sonali Samarasinghe
PUBLISHED 14 OCTOBER 2007: The idle young are always searching for someone to admire. Preferably an irresponsible rich kid with sufficient power to demand access to delightful hotspots. A typical bad boy able to buck the system with impunity.
It helps I suppose if the specimen has spiked hair and a snarly lip. To a young and vapid mind that could be
cool. It would at first elicit an ooh and an aah from the young females strutting around in tight leggings, until that is, it suddenly ends with the all too familiar ouch!
Malaka Silva is the typical bad boy in the most sinister form. He carries guns, he wields power over a number of lackeys with a mob mentality willing at the drop of a hat to pistol whip innocent bystanders and bash them within an inch of their lives.
Malaka is also a sad product of his up bringing. Unhappily for some, he may even be a bit of a hero in the eyes of a few of his own set. This will give him the impetus to go on doing what he always has. And that’s the danger. In such a case society and the courts have a divine duty to do for this young man what his daddy refuses to do. Discipline him.
But society at large in Sri Lanka hardly ever takes up a challenge and Malaka ever since he was remanded on September 10, had been taking up rooms at the Merchant Ward of the National Hospital and occupying beds needed for the genuinely sick.
His only complaint as he arrived in court early September was that he ‘felt vomitish.’ We know how he pretends to feel. Decent society has been feeling rather nauseous ever since Malaka and his daddy decided they wanted to be the leading blots on the Colombo escutcheon.
Recall that Malaka is charged with having pistol whipped Chaminda Senasinghe, an accountant who had recently arrived in Sri Lanka from the US at the Bistro Latino Restaurant and Salsa Bar. If that wasn’t enough ten of his friends and bodyguards had proceeded allegedly to beat him mercilessly. Senasinghe had apparently irritated Malaka for having walked in to the Bistro Latino with Malaka’s ex girl friend, a German woman named Claudia.
Nevertheless Senasinghe and society put their faith in the judiciary as dirty politics took over the case with President Mahinda Rajapakse no less visiting senior counsel for Malaka, Denzil Gunaratne together with Mervyn Silva. Attempts were made to tamper with B Reports as a second B Report was filed with no mention of a gun being used while the first B Report clearly stated so.
President Rajapakse continued to put pressure on the justice system last week with President’s Counsel Denzil Gunaratne sent to make representations to his long time friend, Attorney General C.R. De Silva. However Silva is known to be an honorable man and it is left to be seen how events of last week will pan out.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court on Wednesday (10) granted leave in a rights petition against Malaka and Prisons Chief Maj. Gen. Vajira Wijegunawardene
Institute of Human Rights Chairman, Jeevan Thiagarajah filed the application in the public interest in respect of the infringement of his fundamental right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law.
He stated it was mandatory that all persons ordered to be in remand prison must be held in remand prison and alleged the Commissioner General of Prisons had taken a decision to vary the order of the Additional Magistrate and has failed in his duty and obligation to keep the suspect in remand prison in terms of the applicable law and procedure.
On the evening of October 11 Malaka was transferred to the Welikada prison hospital. Malaka Silva has been in the Merchant Ward since September 10, the day he was remanded by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate.
Be that as it may, recall that Malaka Silva made an application for bail in the High Court and a date for filing objections to bail by the Attorney General had been fixed for October 17.
However last Monday (8) Mohan Peiris, PC who also happens to be the lawyer for the Defence Ministry filed a motion to call the case reportedly in order to change the October 17 date to one of argument rather than objections. Peiris had reportedly stated in open court that the AG would have no objection to granting bail to Malaka Silva.
Letter to AG
Even though the judiciary had acted impeccably in this case given the political ramifications and the interest in the matter of President Mahinda Rajapakse no less, the aggrieved party Chaminda Senasinghe was alarmed.
The Mohan Peiris revelation in open court immediately prompted his lawyer Daya Perera PC last Thursday (11) to write a letter to the Attorney General seeking an interview with him to urge that Malaka Silva be now indicted for attempted murder.
“My client was pistol whipped by the accused Mr Malaka De Silva on September 6, 2007 and sustained grievous injuries,” Perera wrote.
“Very unfortunately due to the political influence of the accused’s father, one Mervyn Silva, the police filed a second B Report in which the pistol mysteriously vanished. However the first B Report revealed the existence of a pistol and its use have been testified to by my injured client and supported by the medical evidence.
“I am only briefly outlining the reasons why I urge that the accused be indicted for attempted murder as I understand that in his application for bail, on a motion Mr. Mohan Peiris PC stated in open court that you had decided not to object to bail. If this be correct it appears that defence counsel has been informed of your decision long before October 17, 2007, which was the date for objections.
Travel documents sought
“I am also instructed that while on remand, the accused’s father had unsuccessfully tried on two occasions to obtain travel documents to Canada and Australia for the accused. A proper investigation by impartial police officers might reveal the truth or otherwise of these allegations, which I am sure will assist you in determining whether you should object to bail or not,” the letter further stated.
Whether President’s Counsel Daya Perera and an eminent team of lawyers including President’s Counsel M.L.M. Ameen are eventually granted an audience with the Attorney General to argue that Malaka Silva should be indicted for the offence of attempted murder is left to be seen.
This much is sure. Given the events of last week, perhaps it is time the decent and genteel of this country, like Sherlock Holmes cries out ‘Come Watson come, The game’s afoot.’
How the public paid for Malaka’s remand time
Labour Ministry pays salary and vehicle
hiring charges of Malaka
Presidential circulars violated by Ministry
Malaka paid cost of living allowance and
fuel charges during remand
Athauda and Mervyn spend over
Rs. 500,000 per month on fuel
By Sonali Samarasinghe
PUBLISHED 18 November 2007: Evidence in our possession shows that ministerial brat Malaka Silva was paid a government salary of Rs. 40,795 including a massive Rs.76, 000 for a vehicle to attend to his official duties by the Ministry of Labour, during his period in remand.
Malaka Silva was remanded on September 11, 2007 for pistol whipping Chaminda Senasinghe an accountant, at the Bistro Latino Restaurant and salsa bar. Even though it was his victim Senasinghe who had 11 stitches on his forehead and was in a state of shock, it was Malaka who quickly took up rooms at the nearest hospital.
On October 16 the Supreme Court in an interim order issued instructions that Malaka be transferred to remand prison from his hospital bed following a fundamental rights application filed by human rights activist Jeevan Thiagarajah. Two days later he was released on bail on an application filed by his mother J.A.M. Lucida.
Malaka is the Private Secretary to his father, Non Cabinet Minister Mervyn Silva. His mother Lucida is the Coordinating Secretary. Therefore both draw salaries, and allowances including for vehicles from the Ministry of Labour as part of the Ministerial staff.
According to a circular on government spending signed by President Rajapakse himself in October 2006 the posts of private secretary and coordinating secretary are temporary appointments only for the duration of the particular minister’s period in that office.
A veteran public servant told The Sunday Leader under normal circumstances a temporary employee would firstly not have the same privileges granted to permanent employees such as EPF and ETF and pension rights.
Secondly a government employee charged with a criminal offence would, under prudent practice be interdicted from his employment until the conclusion of the case. Under no circumstance may he be granted allowances for a vehicle to attend to his official duties especially when he was in remand, according to public service rules. It is so for example in the case of a policeman or a public officer charged with a criminal offence.
However Malaka, the moment he was released on bail was to gallop over to his Daddy’s office full of beans and buck and secure for himself a couple of letterheads to collect his official financial entitlements from the state.
In a shocking letter that displays an unparalleled arrogance of power and lack of propriety Malaka Silva on November 1, writes under his hand to the Secretary, Ministry of Labour Relations and Man Power claiming that since the Ministry had failed to supply him a vehicle for his official duties for the months of September and October, he had been compelled to hire a vehicle registration No. JF 4305 from the company Riverview Private Limited. No quotations are called for and he chooses on his own accord from whom to hire the vehicle. (See box for letter)
He also annexes to his claim a statement by the manager of Riverview Hotel (Pvt) Ltd. for a sum of Rs. 76,000 for the specified two months. (See box for statement)
On November 5 the Ministry of Labour approves the payment and issues a payment voucher for the said amount of Rs. 76,000/- (See box for copy of voucher)
It is not immediately clear what kind of official duties came under the purview of Malaka Silva during his time in remand notwithstanding the fact that due to his ‘vomitish’ feeling he had to take up rooms in a national hospital rather than at the remand prison. Granted the condition of the remand prison is enough to make anyone sick, but ministerial brats like Malaka must think of that before they set about wreaking havoc on the public weal.
While some journalists falsely accused are made to spend time in remand for no other crime than for doing their job well, Malaka Silva not only does not have to spend time in remand even though he is charged by the police with a criminal offence but he is also rewarded handsomely for it by the government through the tax paying public.
The payroll for the month of September of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment reveals that Malaka Silva had received a sum of Rs.40,795 for the month of September including a fuel allowance of Rs. 14,400 and a cost of living allowance of Rs. 2125. (See box for copy of payroll)
Ironically however Malaka was during most of September and October supposedly enjoying government hospitality at the Remand prison. Perhaps Malaka felt that since he had declined an invitation to reside at the remand prison and thereby saved the state a colossal amount of money for his upkeep for one and a half months he was entitled to claim the benefit from the Ministry of Labour of which his father is non cabinet minister.
Be that as it may let us take a look at the entitlements of Non Cabinet Minister Mervyn Silva.
According to Presidential circular no. CSA/P1/40 signed October 23, 2006 the entitlements for non cabinet ministers are as follows:
Security Vehicles – 01
Security personnel (police) – 04
For cabinet ministers the entitlement is much the same except they could have 05 security police personnel.
The circular states that if there are more than one minister or deputy minister to a ministry the number of security vehicles and personnel and fuel allowances should be claimed only for one ministerial post.
The Presidential circular signed by President Mahinda Rajapakse also states that Members of parliament representing constituencies outside the western province will be entitled to a monthly maximum diesel allowance of Rs. 30,000 for their security vehicle per month. MPs representing constituencies in the western province will be entitled to Rs. 20,000 diesel for their security vehicle per month.
Any security vehicles or personnel obtained outside the entitlement must be approved by President Rajapakse himself according to the circular.
Keep in mind that Mervyn Silva is a national list MP and has no constituency to nurse. Silva contested in the Colombo District and lost dismally not even getting a few thousand votes. He later pleaded with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga falling prostrate at her feet much like Mayantha Dissanayake did at President Rajapakse’s feet. For this his wife Lucida was made a national list MP and she resigned to make way for husband Mervyn Silva.
Therefore Silva is entitled only to the Rs. 20,000 per month. Therefore both Ministers are entitled to an aggregate of Rs. 50,000 fuel allowance per month or Rs. 60,000 at the maximum. Shockingly documents in our possession show the ministers average at least half a million rupees in fuel bills per month.
Be that as it well may let’s see how payments have been made by the Labour Ministry with regard to fuel allowances of the two labour ministers. One the cabinet minister Athauda Seneviratne and the other the non cabinet minister.
Payment for fuel
According to documents in our possession here is a list of fuel payments made to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from 02.07.2007 to 23.10.2007 for obtaining fuel coupon books for the two ministers. This mind you despite the fact the circular states that all entitlements must be made as if there is only one minister even if there are two or more ministers in a ministry.
Date Peoples Bank Amount
Narahenpita cheque no.
02.07.2007 344353 Rs. 325,000
11.07.2007 344751 Rs. 100,000
23.07.2007 347801 Rs.150,000
NOTE: Therefore for July alone the petrol bill for the two ministers is Rs.575,000
This is in addition to Minister Athauda Seneviratne’s private secretary Dr. Parakrama Athauda, claiming on July 13, 2007 a sum of Rs. 24,800 for the Minister’s official vehicle.
01.08.2007 348000 Rs.300,000
20.08.2007 348566 Rs.175,000
30.08.2007 348779 Rs.100,000
03.09.2007 348782 Rs. 375.000
NOTE: On 12.09.2007 Sarath Senanayake the coordinating Secretary writes stating that the minister had used up all his coupons during a tour of A’para and claims a further Rs. 19,000 for fuel.
Again on 19.09.2007 Senanayake claims for the minister’s official vehicle a further Rs. 14,000
17.09.2007 351365 Rs.200,000
01.10.2007 351598 Rs.375,000
08.10.2007 Rs. 19,000
17.10.2007 352874 Rs.200,000
23.10.2007 353162 Rs.100,000
According to another Presidential circular also sent out in October of 2006 the other entitlements of ministers and deputy ministers are specified.
For instance a minister or deputy minister can have in his staff one private secretary, one coordinating secretary, one media secretary, one public affairs secretary (Cabinet ministers may have two), and two drivers.
Together with office hands and other staff the total for a minister is a staff of 15 and for a deputy minister a staff of 10.
The private, coordinating and public affairs secretaries are employed on a temporary basis and are not entitled to any perks as per the permanent staff.
According to this circular both the minister and his deputy may have two official vehicles while a maximum of Rs. 7.5 million for a car or jeep and Rs. 5.5 million for a double cab inclusive of all taxes.
Mind you the circular states that if perchance a vehicle has to be hired from outside it should only be done by a letter seeking prior approval from the Treasury written under the hand of the Secretary to the relevant ministry.
The maximum fuel allowance for a Minister per month is as follows:
Petrol Rs. 75,000 (Outside western province), Rs.50,000 (within WP)
Diesel Rs.30,000 (out of WP)
Rs. 20,000 (within WP)
The maximum fuel allowance for a Deputy Minister
Petrol Rs. 65,000 (Outside western province), Rs.40,000 (within WP)
Diesel Rs.30,000 (out of WP)
Rs. 20,000 (within WP)
Likewise the number of vehicles for the staff of a minister is five and a deputy minister is three.
Even taking into account the entitlement of Rs.75,000 per month for a minister for his two official vehicles. the two labour ministers burning up an average of Rs.575,000 fuel per month is inexcusable.
Mind you the staff of the ministers do not need to dip in to the fuel allowances of the minister himself as they have their own allowances. For instance Malaka Silva as the private secretary has a diesel allowance of Rs.14,400 per month. Lucida as the Coordinating Secretary has a diesel allowance of Rs. 23,200 per month.
Labour Minister’s vehicles
However Minister Mervyn Silva has an official list of eight vehicles of which his official vehicle and Audi does not have a registration number but a garage number WP2006/2007 (Please see box for details of vehicles.)
President Rajapakse as the minister of Finance may have sent out circulars willy nilly in October of 2006, he may have admonished the public to tighten their belts; but his own jumbo cabinet of 107 ministers continue to dish up for themselves large chunks of the public’s money even at a time they are incarcerated in remand for assaulting a member of the very public from whom they get their sustenance.
No wonder then millions of big bucks are on offer to keep the Government going in Parliament considering the lifestyles of the ministers that are at stake at public expense.
Boxing Mervyn Day
By Sonali Samarasinghe
As a political hit man to President Mahinda Rajapakse, Dr. Mervyn Silva would be entitled to a double PhD. He has the perfect qualifications. An impressive entourage of gangsters, drug dealers and double murder suspects, no sense of shame and a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush. He is also a political prostitute lurking endlessly in the bordellos of power and snapping at the crumbs thrown down at him.
In Mahinda Rajapakse � a village bumpkin from Medamulane who would not hesitate to call up an editor and insult his mother as part of his daily routine � Mervyn Silva has met his match. By a happy coincidence for the Rajapakse family they are on the same side.
Patronage must end
But if this country is not to turn into a country of blackguards and scoundrels, political patronage of the likes of Kudu Lal and Kudu Nuwan, of Mervyn and Malaka, of the late Wambotta, and an endless stream of underworld gangsters must come to an abrupt halt.
There is an uncomfortable poetic justice in the events of December 27 as hundreds of angry employees of the Rupavahini turned on Mervyn and his security thugs. Decorum would have perhaps been better served had these hapless employees watched as Mervyn with the full blessings of the Rajapakse regime roughed up their news director. Dignified order would have been better played out if the news director and the scores of witnesses to the unwarranted attack had filed a complaint at the police station instead.
But in a nation that has sacrificed the rule of law at the altar of political greed even the most genteel and dignified among us may reluctantly agree that the employees had no other choice as they turned their wrath on the man who had so insulted them.
Futility of complaining
And the futility of a police complaint becomes painfully obvious as the government enacts yet another farce of an investigation. The Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party last week had decided to appoint a committee comprising Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, John Seneviratne and Governor Alavi Moulana to inquire into the incident while Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has appointed a one man commission to probe the case.
Nonetheless soon the government print media twisted the focus towards the conduct of the employees of the Rupavahini Corporation and calls were made to hold an inquiry. To save face the government even attempted to pin the blame on opposition elements. However by another happy coincidence the annual AGM of the SLRC UNP trade union was being held that very day and all its members had been on leave to participate at the event.
However Mervyn Silva who together with his thugs fiercely abused state employees remains the non cabinet minister for labour relations, and if there is an irony in that it is not the government that has seen it.
Doctors run away
While the SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena publicly condemned Mervyn Silva�s thuggish behaviour and promised an inquiry, President Rajapakse was tip toe-ing into the hospital room wherein Mervyn Silva lay his battered head.
Earlier, doctors at the National Hospital like the rest of Sri Lanka who had been watching the live, unedited performance courtesy the state Rupavahini, baulked at attending to the man. A gaggle of doctors mysteriously took half day�s leave as Mervyn arrived to take up lodgings at the premises his ganglions vibrating while his security guards were perhaps thinking of migrating.
President Rajapakse gently sat at the unwilling patient�s bedside and comforted him vowing to bring the culprits at Rupavahini to book. Later Rajapakse�s security was to arrive in hospital and whisk him away to safer pastures.
And Rajapakse was not his only visitor. Sajin Vass Gunawardena took time off his busy schedule running a budget airline to take up a note book and pencil and hurry to Mervyn�s side where he had been given a presidential order to take down the names and descriptions of those who attacked Mervyn�s sacred person.
Night time visitor
But President Percival Rajapakse did not curtail his support for Mervyn to a silent nightly visit. After all it is reported the President was fully aware of the background to the incident and Mervyn typically called Temple Trees from the Rupavahini chairman�s room. The doctor of sorts was also heard to claim he visited Rupavahini with the blessings of the President.
At the cabinet meeting last week while discussing the important issue of annulment of the CFA, to the President, foremost in his mind was the Mervyn issue.
He was to quickly approach the topic and spoke in favour of his Silva. No doubt Rajapakse in many ways identified and sympathised with him, both hailing from Medamulane as it were.
President Percy trivialised Mervyn Silva�s actions as a �small mistake� and was more keen to focus on the conduct of the state employees. He angrily inquired as to how the unedited version of the entire proceedings had been telecast by stopping all regular programmes and insisted a state institution must do the bidding of the government in power and should not have shown a minister being humiliated.
Even as Minister John Seneviratne softly pointed out that Mervyn did not act like a minister that day Rajapakse was nonplussed, perhaps genuinely who knows.
Culture of impunity
How, the President asked, did they take the law into their own hands? The answer is simple. Though not evidently to Percy. A culture of impunity has pervaded this island. If a government does not live by the rule of law it will surely die by the unruly mob.
Mervyn meanwhile has caused a furore among doctors with some contemplating tough legal action against bodies and institutions who confer doctorates on all and sundry without due process and acceptable criteria. Mervyn was gifted his doctorate by the current head of Medicina Alternativa Dr. Geethanjan Mendis. It was also Mendis who issued a controversial medical certificate to Mervyn�s son Malaka to get him out of remand hospital and on to a National Hospital bed.
There is a disgust that consumes one on hearing Mervyn liken his treatment at the hands of state media staff to the suffering of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. It is a disgust that remains when one comes to the realisation that Mervyn is merely a symptom of a larger malady that ails this nation.
Twenty Four hours after Boxing Day last year, Mervyn Silva was to get a rude shock as Rupavahini employees took matters into their own hands. Perhaps in his memory the day after Boxing Day should be renamed Boxing Mervyn Day.