30 September, 2022


The ‘Sil Redi’ Project

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and the former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita were declared guilty by the High Court under Section 386 of the Penal Code of ‘dishonestly misappropriating’ a sum of Rs. 600 million belonging to the TRC by remitting the said sum to a bank account of the Presidential Secretariat to be used for the purpose of distributing sil redi during the last Presidential elections. They have each been sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment, a fine of Rs. two million and either the payment of Rs 50 million in compensation to the TRC or a further two years of rigorous imprisonment. Many people including the media have asked me about this matter and I feel I should make my views known to the public.

To say that this conviction and sentence has shocked the country would be an understatement. The judgement itself states that neither Lalith Weeratunga nor Anusha Pelpita had appropriated for their personal use any of the money used to purchase sil redi. From my point of view, they only carried out legitimate instructions issued to them by the President of the country. The verbal instructions given by me in this regard have been recorded in the form of minutes placed by Mr Weeratunga on correspondence with officials of the Presidential Secretariat. On 20 March 2014, Mr Weeratunga wrote a minute to the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat outlining eight projects that I had ordered funded through the President’s Special Development Fund during the year 2014.

The sixth item on this list was providing ‘material aid’ to the devotees observing sil at temples on Poya days. The other projects on the list included funding for the IT section of the Kotelawala Defence University and assistance to construct houses for low income earners in the former ‘border villages’ etc. On 12 May 2014, in yet another minute to the Senior Assistant Secretary Mr Weeratunga had stated that I had given instructions that sil redi be distributed to devotees observing sil on Poya days. This was long before the declaration of the presidential election. The purpose of the President’s Special Development Fund which had an annual budget of Rs. 1,000 million and was started in 2012, was to fill the gaps left by other ministries and to meet requests made directly to the President. The Coordinating Secretary for Religious Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat Ven. Watinapaha Somananda Thera was in charge of implementing the sil redi project.

At the latter’s request, the Economic Affairs Ministry carried out a survey through Samurdhi Niladharis to identify the requirements of sil redi at temples countrywide. The suppliers were instructed to hand over the sil redi to a main temple in each Divisional Secretariat area from where they would be distributed to other temples. This was a project implemented countrywide, involving 11,021 temples. This was aid supplied to the temples, not to voters. After the sil redi reached the temples, the Chief Incumbent monk became the sole authority who could decide when, how, and to whom the sil redi would be distributed. No time frame was imposed on the temples to carry out the distribution. They could have been distributed either immediately or even a year later at the discretion of the Chief Incumbent of the temple.

The mode of distribution did not enable the beneficiaries to be selected on political grounds. School uniforms are also distributed towards the end of the year and cannot be withheld even if an election was on. Nobody would suggest that the receipt of school uniforms during an election would influence the result of the election. The sil redi was also general state aid distributed across the board to Buddhist devotees just like the school uniforms. In fact the suppliers of school uniforms to the government had been mobilised for the sil redi project as well. The sil redi was not meant just for adults of voting age but for daham pasal students observing sil on Poya days as well. It was stated in the judgement that the sil redi parcels contained a label which read “Mahinda Rajapaksa methithuman Mahinda Chinthana prathipaththi walata anuwa yamin karana daham pandurak”. (A religious offering made by Mahinda Rajapaksa in pursuance of Mahinda Chintanaya policies.)

This was only a label stating the provenance of the sil redi, and in any event, is not in violation of Sections 72 and 68(1)(e) of the Presidential Elections Act No:15 of 1981, which deal with the display of printed matter during elections. Section 77 of the Presidential Elections Act on ‘treating’ voters, also does not apply to this case because the sil redi was handed over to temples without any time frame for distribution and were provided to all regardless of the political affiliation of the temples and the devotees. Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Pelpita were never charged for election related offences even though this is being portrayed as a case relating to the misuse of public property during election time. Under Section 164(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the charges brought against the accused have to clearly state the law under which the offence said to have been committed, is punishable.     

The reason why money had to be obtained for this project from the TRC is because on 14 October 2014, the Chief Accountant of the Presidential Secretariat sent Lalith Weeratunga a note stating that the allocation of the President’s Special Development Fund for the year 2014 was Rs. 1,000 million and that Rs. 400 million of this had to be given to a project of the Kotelawala Defence University and that there was insufficient funds for the sil redi project. Lalith Weeratunga replied to this with a minute on 15 October 2014 instructing the Chief Accountant to release the money to the Kotelawala Defence University and that the money for the sil redi project will be obtained from the TRC to be reimbursed later. Mr Weeratunga had written to the Director General of the TRC on 30 October 2014, stating that it had been decided to obtain financial patronage (mulya anugrahaya) for this project from the TRC.

Thereupon, Anusha Pelpita Director General of the TRC had prepared a board paper for this purpose on the same day seeking the approval of the board, (a) to allocate Rs. 600 million to the Corporate Social Responsibility budget of the TRC as an extra budgetary allocation, (b) to approve the donation of Rs. 600 million to the President’s Special Development Fund and (c) to spend this amount from the corporate social responsibility budget of the TRC. This paper had been presented to the TRC board meeting held on 15 December 2014 and all three proposals had been unanimously approved by the Commission. The money from the TRC had been remitted to the Presidential Secretariat account on 5 December 2014.  On 29 December 2014, Lalith Weeratunga sent a note to the Chief Accountant stating that the money from the TRC should be reimbursed as soon as the allocation for 2015 is received and that at least Rs. 200 million should be paid back in the first quarter of 2015.

According to Section 22F(3) of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act No: 25 of 1991 as amended by Act No: 27 of 1996, the board of directors of the TRC can authorise any payment in the performance of its tasks. Sections 218, 115, 65, 66, 68, 93 and 94 of the Financial Regulations of the Government of Sri Lanka also authorises ‘Chief Accounting Officers’ (who in the case of the Presidential Secretariat was Lalith Weeratunga) to transfer money between government agencies under his authority on the basis of reimbursement. Regrettably, the written evidence presented to courts in the form of Lalith Weeratunga’s minutes giving instructions to the Chief Accountant or the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat in relation to this project have not been considered in the judgement delivered by the High Court.

The prosecution brought 21 witnesses to prove their case against the accused. The High Court has not taken into account the evidence provided by prosecution witness No: 13 Hewage Emali Priyanthara, No: 20 Ruwani Saumya Gunaratne, No: 15 Rev. Watinapaha Somananda Thero, No: 04 Saputhanthrige Chandra Jagath, No: 14 Mallika Kanakanamlage Jayantha and prosecution witness No: 5 Amarasinghe Lekamge Don Gunaratne (the Chief Accountant of the Presidential Secretariat) on the grounds that they had worked with the accused in the Presidential Secretariat and the TRC and were also connected to the sil redi project and that they had been partial (lediyawak) or sympathetic to the accused. These were witnesses called by the prosecution – not the defence – and their evidence had been provided to courts under oath.

This has very serious implications for state employees at all levels. If for example an employee of the Customs Department is taken to courts for allegedly violating procedure, the only way to prove or disprove that such a violation took place is through written and verbal evidence from within the Customs Department itself. If in such cases, even the testimony of witnesses brought by the prosecution is not taken into account on the grounds that they had worked with the accused and were therefore partial, the accused government servant will have no defence at all.  Another matter of grave concern in the case of Lalith Weeratunga, is that the handwritten instructions given by the highest State official in the land to his subordinates have not been considered by the courts.

If this becomes a precedent, no State employee charged in a court of law will ever be able to prove his innocence. The unanimous approval of Anusha Pelpita’s board paper by the TRC board of directors on 15 December 2014 has also not been taken into account  in a situation where the authority with exclusive power to utilise the funds of the TRC is the TRC board of directors. This will have serious implications for all private sector and state sector bodies that are run by boards of directors. The severe sentence imposed on Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Pelpita is not because they enriched themselves through corrupt means but because they carried out the instructions of the head of state to distribute sil redi to temples in pursuance of the government’s obligations under Article 9 of the Constitution to foster and protect Buddhism.

Under our constitution, the direction and control of the government is the responsibility of the cabinet of ministers (including the President) and the public service is expected to work in good faith to achieve the policy objectives of the government. Therefore public servants who carry out lawful instructions issued to them by the President and the Cabinet should be protected if there are no serious allegations of corruption against them. 

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Latest comments

  • 16

    A stupid explanation.

    Mr. former President, you are a lawyer, I am not.

    Let’s see some simple facts. I have 3:

    Judge says that he is NOT convinced that:
    1. there was an emergency to distribute Sil Redi running upto the election:-

    Not only LW and other fellow, even your statement proves that the Judge was correct as you ‘reconfirmed’ that there was no time limit and the temples were allowed to use their discretion to choose devotees and time frame (you say, they could have even kept them for a year and then distribute.) —

    So like me, the Judge may have thought, “Then what is this urgency? They could have easily stored Sil Redi until the end of the election, letting it be distributed by the new President, whomever it is, as the money utilized were not their personal money. Further they were aware that it was not the right thing to do once an election was announced.” —

    So, one can say that public funds were misused to garner “Buddhist votes” for you by making an express distribution prior to the election (which is a bribe in my eyes.) The amount is not peanuts which is more than enough to make a change.

    2&3. — Both are worse than the above. So, I decided to not to go further. Who prepared your statement? King still has monkeys with swords, I guess.

    Mr. former President, I don’t find fault with you here. You didn’t hold a gun at their heads to get this done. No force, no pressure from your side. Even they haven’t told the Judge that they were compelled to do so or they carried out the order out of fear. Meaning they had a choice not to do this running upto the election. (300 words dead)

    • 6

      And now you have been uttering it this way ?

      How Champa has become to sense ?

      My gosh Champa- do you think that your siamese twin brother bears the same opinion ? I mean that Sangili sakkili Wimal ?

      He was the puppet on the stages where loud screams were made so indecently immitating COMMON candidate remember ?

      I think you have no basis just not being able to find your way you just add your thoughts to silence us here right ?
      There is no way back. They the investigations should and must catch the bull by his horns sooner than later
      I question why interpol takes that long to arrest Udayanga for MIG deal ?

      I question why Yoshita Rajapakseh is not yet jailed for that murder case ? How many more years Thadjudeen s mother has to wait until the murderers are jailed ?
      Why queen of gold business is kept late for investigations ?

  • 10

    I decided to add little more. No salt, promise. —

    Mr. former President, you were not in your right mind during election time (actually you were not in your right mind since 2010) because your contender came out of dragon’s mouth. Your pride was shattered. Naturally, you may have thought (ab)using your office, (mis)using public funds and exploiting government servants to your advantage to garner more votes. You were not the first.

    Unlike you, people surrounded by you were in their right minds including LalithW and other fellows. By that time prime allegations used by your opponents were abuse of power, misuse of public funds, fraud, corruption, etc. At a time like that, nobody would spend Rs. 600 million to distribute Sil Redi because it only confirms those allegations.

    As the S/President, Lalith W had the opportunity to stop you. He could have explained to you that it could be backfired and that it was like giving ammunition to your opponents. As far as I could remember you were only short of 450,000 something votes. Who knows Sil Redi may had the opposite reaction which made you losing 500,000 votes, I mean rather than contradicting your opponents, you opted to confirm their allegations.

    Mr. former President, you had many stupid monkeys surrounded by you after 2010 which was the reason you lost, one by one, your eyes, ears, limbs and legs every time they swung their swords. You were deaf dumb and blind, you couldn’t see there were no flies.

    If you insisted, people surrounded by you could have used their brains and converted the project to school uniform not Sil Redi because then you could’ve justified the urgency as it was back to school time and children have no voting rights. (300 words dead).

    • 4

      Perfect length, perfect content, yet somebody had given you a red thumbs down.

      I set the balance right.

      I read all your comments now, Champa. You talk sense, except that you’ve got this bee in the bonnet about Tamils not being entitled to use their language.


      Actually, I agree that the Tower of Babel was a terrible curse; proves God to be not very benign. It is so difficult to learn a language that I wish we had only one language on Planet Earth.

      • 1

        Sinhala Man

        Oh, you shouldn’t worry as I never worry about thumbs up or down and if I am writing for thumbs up, there is a way to write which is against my principles.

  • 9

    Little more. I still cannot fathom why did you do this. Election results proved that people were not ready to accept last minute “meritorious deeds” as genuine. —

    I beg to differ you about this judgement’s impact on the Public Service.

    This judgement is historical because it straightened the backbone of the Public Service as never before.

    Now public servants have a concrete reason to tell their bosses/Ministers/PM that they are not ready to carry out any orders that violate FR/EC/Circulars. If they were transferred or subjected to political victimization for not following illegal orders, they can always seek justice in Courts with compensation.

    You say, “If for example an employee of the Customs is taken to courts for allegedly violating procedure, the only way to prove/disprove that such a violation took place is through written/verbal evidence…..” No offence, Mr. former President, I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this part.

    “If an employee is taken to courts for allegedly violating procedure”, Mr, former President, he should be punished!!! The written and verbal evidence you so passionately talk about only confirms that he violated the said procedure. There is no excuse whatsoever to violate government rules, regulations and procedures. They are there to protect the system from abusing, misusing and exploiting. Who was LW’s lawyer? You? No wonder he got 3-year RI. Seriously, who prepared this dumb statement?

    Judge says that he considered the case at society’s angle too, to set an example. As I notice “now”, Judge Gihan Kulatunga treats everyone equal, be it white collar, pink collar, blue collar or no collar. I was waiting with my teeth sharp. But he gave an impartial verdict. Hurt, Mr. former President? I know, I was there too, few months ago. Now I am heartless.

    • 2

      Champa ,

      Do not forget 5.2 million who wanted MARA back in office
      despite the allegation of fraud and corruption of his govt.
      You may have a fair mind to expect that this court verdict
      against the accused would set the path straight to all those
      who want to walk straight but not for arrogant and selfish
      souls that are readily available for a PRICE ! It is that lot
      that MARA GROUP OF COMPANIES is encouraging . Take
      a few examples , almost everyday someone is being caught
      at the BIA for smuggling ! And there’s always another
      trying the same method the next day ! Let’s say they are
      uneducated and don’t read news . And school principals
      taking bribe for school admissions ? One DIG was sentenced
      to death for crime recently and hot on the heels , an SDIG
      was arrested and got bail only last week for involvement
      in serious crime ! They are not just ordinary people . Well
      educated , professional and influential but STUPID AND
      GREEDY lot who is available for a price in this open
      economy. Definitely economic system not to blame and
      it is simply these and some other lot can not digest it.
      What I’m trying to say is , we have a bunch
      of leaders waiting out there for the fall of the govt to take
      control of the situation and do exactly what they did in their
      time with the people who wanted them back ! This country
      of ours can not afford the LUXURY of living honest with a
      history of decades old culture of fraud and corruption .
      MARA is quite sure of his people wanting him back for a
      kill at any cost ! MARA coming forward defending his
      henchmen is publicly finding fault with the judgement !
      In my view , it is showing his blatant disregard to the
      judiciary when judgement goes against him which he
      sees as dangerous to his future plans , so he is trying to
      make it look political and feels no shame about it ! This
      also proves he ALWAYS WANTED TO STAND TALLER ,
      JR .

      • 0


        Oh, c’mon, Ranil’s uncle JR is the man who ruined the altruistic Sinhalese society by introducing open economy to the country.

        Open economy was what corrupted people’s minds. It established a greedy subculture above the Sinhalese society. It paved the way for fraud, corruption and abuse as open economy was the total opposite of the sharing and caring culture we cherished and nurtured for thousand years. It was JR’s open economy which taught people dirty tricks, corner cuttings, being selfish and psychological manipulation are acceptable in making money.

        • 2

          Champa ,

          Oh dear , you are inviting me for a topic that has no ending !
          Open economy vs closed economy . I’m no great fan of open
          economy for immature people of our kind who are struggling
          even to come to terms with the newly found democracy but
          yet , if MARA had enough time to amend 18th amendment just
          for his ALTRUISTIC GREED , why not reverse the economy to
          Sirimavo era if that is the CURSE instead of taking the open
          economy to new heights by building more ports and airports
          with no traffic flow guarantees or plans for years ? Every
          system has its own flaws and you very conveniently forget
          that it was the massive fraud and corruption in closed economy
          under Sirimavo + NM Perera that brought JRJ to power with a
          historic 5/6 majority ! People wanted enough rice and they got it
          and look at their bellies ! They wanted uninterrupted sugar
          supply ! And they got enough Metformin in pharmacies for the
          after-effects , why blame sugar for your stupidity ? The carpenter
          who had never been to a private GP in his village finds his son
          waiting for a doctor at Asiri or Nawaloka ! You want to blame JRJ
          for that ? And there are over twenty million mobile phone users
          in the country , you blame JRJ ? You spent more than one hour
          on the road anywhere out of Colombo for a CTB bus before 1977
          and even that one and only will be hopping along half the
          distance before collapsing ! Where are you today ? There are
          disadvantages of course but forty years on we must be a strong
          developed and comfortable society by now with the open
          economy if we ever had UNDERSTOOD its pros and cons . And
          UNDER CLOSED ECONOMY and they don’t want to UNDER OPEN
          ECONOMY EITHER ! What do they want then ? EASY MONEY BY
          PROCESS .

  • 6

    I standby what I said somewhere else. It is not fair to collect money from people, it is again a misuse of people’s good heart.

    Mr. former President, there were many people benefited from you during 2010 – 2015. They should come forward voluntarily and make some donations.

    If you have forgotten, I can give you a small list: 1. Basil Rajapaksa, 2. Sajin de Vaas, 3. Nimal Lansa, 4. Johnston Fernando, 5. Rohitha Abeygunawardene, 6. Mahinda Aluthgamage, 7. Nishantha Wickremasinghe, 8 & 9. two other Wickremasinghes (I forgot first names – one was in the tea sector) 10. Asantha de Mel 11. That fellow who owns Dubai Marriott 12. Derana 13. Arundika 14. Hey, I forgot buddy, Ranil W. Anyway, RW might get offended as he now counts money in trillions.

    They can donate 7-9 million each or if there are others the donation could be less which will make 180 – 200 million. The fine is altogether, 50+50+20+20 = 140 million.

    Let’s see whether they kissed your feet only when you were in power. I mean this is the best opportunity to say “adios or gracias” to your monkeys.

    Anyway, there is a one snag. There is no guarantee that they can recover this money in future. The reason is obvious. The Sun might not be sunny again.

    • 1

      This should read as follows: The fine is altogether, 50+50+2+2 = 104 million.–

      I saw some funny stuff. All this time government Ministers talk about fraud and corruption of the past regime. The moment they heard the sil redi verdict, they started defending the convicts. Now they are not thieves. The have just violated the election law. Rs. 600 million has been misused. If government Ministers knew that they were not thieves, why did they file the case in the first place? To hoodwink people? They may not have expected the verdict. They didn’t file the case for violating the election law, they filed the case for misusing public funds. There are two many people to defend the convicts. Strange attitude which is wrong because there is a clear verdict which should be accepted. Ministers should learn to respect the Judiciary and commend for its impartiality rather than defending wrongdoings. It is not correct to give a wrong message to the younger generation.–

      Wimal was in jail for 3 months without any written or verbal evidence of issuing orders or following orders to abuse state funds. He was accused for aiding and abetting a ‘ghost’ to misuse vehicles and that ‘ghost’ is still not known. Wimal is not a thief, too. His case should be dismissed.—-

      Ravi K and Aloysius both are now off the hook by the PCoI. They will never be charged. Now government Ministers will say they are also not thieves. Hello, law should be equal to everybody.

  • 3

    You say: “…At the latter’s request, the Economic Affairs Ministry carried out a survey…..” I didn’t see this before.

    Why was it Economic Affairs Ministry, not Buddha Sasana Ministry?

    This explains the whole story.

    If LW and other fellow plan to make an Appeal based on this stupid statement, they are not getting it. This has nothing to counter Judge’s reasoning for his verdict.

  • 2

    at last he has come out and acknowledged that he gave the order in the hope that he can save the culprits on appeal knowing very well that the pambaya rulers will not take any action aganist him

    • 1

      Nowhere he has mentioned that he gave an order to use Rs. 600 million from TRC. So it was somebody else’s order.. Even the Judge says LW has changed his version several times as if to hide something.

  • 3

    Champa’s comment is a good example of the ignorance that prevails within many of those who jump to comment to any article on CT.
    Her question: “Why was it Economic Affairs Ministry, not Buddha Sasana Ministry?”
    Answer: At village level, it is the Grama niladhari or the Samurdhi Seva officers who conduct any survey on behalf of the Government. That’s a part of their duty list and even today any ministry can request their services at no extra cost to tax payers through the relevant ministry which was the Economic Develeopment Ministry at the time. (Similarly, if a ministry wants the services of the Grama Niladhari, the ministry of public administration should be contacted).
    Those who write lengthy comments and waste our time should study the history of the country first; then, they should familiar with government regulations, how the public service is set up to serve the people through FR and AR with certain exceptions, and how the judiciary interprets certain happenings, facts and figures according to the ‘existing’ law. It doesn’t mean that justice is rendered 100% accurately and nobody should question it. (Please see my next comment for an example as to how court judgments are criticized in Canada)!
    Here, MR has given a clear and strong statement and many have come to understand what has exactly happened. Some people ask why he did not make this statement before the judgement was rendered. My question: Did the court summon him? Can someone just go and make a statement in front of the court?
    JR who foresaw this nonsense included a clause in his Constitution on powers vested in the Executive Presidency. I didn’t agree with JR’s policies but he was a smart politician (specially, when it comes to his own defense!)

    • 0

      Puran Appu

      I enjoy freedom of expression as stipulated in the Constitution. Who are you to tell me what should I write? It is entirely my decision whether I write lengthy comments or short comments and decide which article I should respond to. CT is the only website for independent people. All the others are either pro-government or pro-rajapaksa. Don’t bring Rajapaksa suppression here, too, as they suppressed me all other places.

      There is no need to have a survey. As obvious, it is only an attempt to make the Economic Affairs Ministry get involved. It is because Basil Rajapaksa handled all financial transactions. Yeah, Rs. 600 million is not peanuts.

      I have never heard any temple had a shortage of “Sil Redi” which is an item personal to devotees.

      They could have easily donate money to temples, not Sil Redi, through Buddha Sasana Ministry as they have a standard list of temples and more importantly, many temples have more pressing needs than Sil Redi.

  • 3

    (Continuation…) The example is from Canada about Omar Khadr who sued the Canadian government against his ‘unlawful’ arrest and detention. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that Omar Khadr’s basic rights had been violated when he was detained at Guantanamo Bay maximum security detention camp in 2010. As a result, the Trudeau Government decided to pay $10.5 million to him as compensation. Look at the reaction of the former Defence Minister Jason Kenney:.
    “This confessed terrorist should be in prison paying for his crimes, not profiting from them at the expense of Canadian taxpayers,”
    The CBC report says “If Stephen Harper were still prime minister (in Canada), it’s possible the federal government would continue fighting the suit.”

    What we should understand is that Court judgments, whether they are given in Canada or Sri Lanka are not divine gospel truth. Judges can miss certain valuable points, facts, and err, and that’s why there are higher courts to go and appeal.
    MR’s statement will be a strong and powerful defense against the current verdict.

  • 1

    Some are talking about the length of time taken for this case (there is an appeal against the verdict. so still more to go).

    However all these buggers shouting hoarse don’t want to talk the dragging of the case related to the biggest robbery in the country (i.e. the Central Bank Robbery), for more than two years now since the first robbery took place (and a second much bigger one took place later on) where the crooks personally benefited to the tune of billions (unlike the sil redi case where material benefit went to a large section of the ordinary folk) and NO criminal case is yet filed!!

    • 5


      “(there is an appeal against the verdict. so still more to go)”

      Why hasn’t the state charge you for actively participating in all riots (1958, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983, …..) killing, looting, raping, …………………… ? The law in this country work only for those racist Sinhala/Buddhist fascists. It always protect the scumbags.

      Were you involved in the destruction of Jaffna Library?

  • 4

    Where are the receipts pertaining to the purchase of these textile materials?

    • 0

      Receipts are there.

      HC Judge was very fair towards Lalith/Anusha. They should be thankful for that.

      If there was someone like me, I would tell the supplier to produce his original invoices of the company where he ordered fabric at wholesale price. He sold the fabric to the government at retail price which was Rs. 165 as far as I could remember. Why on earth government didn’t request him to supply at wholesale price? Who would buy millions of fabric at retail price? There is visible foul play. But I respect the HC Judge. He I think didn’t want to pursue on that as there were no evidence plus he may have thought accused are getting enough punishment as a good example to the society.

      I was waiting for such a verdict as we can use it to stop government’s attempt to vote rigging, exploiting public servants. It had happened in January/August 2015. We were helpless. Now we have the most strongest reasoning to request government servants to follow election rules, plus counting to the dot! At the last election many ballot boxes brought were half filled before the commencement of voting. Polling officers were scared to complain or request them to be opened to check whether they were empty. There was foul play at counting too. This is firsthand information.

      This time government might go for e-voting system for vote rigging. Even then system administrators will not succumb to their bosses’ pressure/intimidation as before. There will be no more election day blackouts or suspicious delays of results being announced. If that happened, like in Kenya, people can go to the SC requesting results be annulled.

      I feel sorry for Lalith/Anusha but this verdict is historical as it boldly correct the corrupt system.

  • 2

    I feel sad.

    Collecting money to “Paaththara” (alms bowl) is not right. Collecting “bare money” is too much. Telling people before-hand that they are coming to collect money is unacceptable when alms begging means to accept whatever laymen offer. They could have at least used an envelope to put money.

    A sight of Buddhist priests returning to temples after rounds of alms begging with Paaththara full of coins and currency notes is not something I would like to see as a Buddhist.

    When people know Buddhist Priests go rounds in alms begging, they offer food to Paaththara with much faith (Sraddha). Offering money to Paaththara doesn’t have the same feeling.

    The entire exercise is wrong.

    Collecting money from poor people, workers and devotees (mis)using a much valued noble practice taught by Lord Buddha to pay a court fine imposed on wealthy, is not Lord Buddha’s teaching. It should be the other way.

    There is no way these Venerable Theros succeed in collecting Rs. 140 million like this. I am sure this money will be paid by those who are concerned. In a way this is like politicians (mis)using Buddhist priests to hoodwink people that the money was collected by Buddhist priests as a noble deed. This is totally wrong. Cheating. Misplaced faith in Buddhism.

    In 1988, 93% of Sinhalese were Buddhists. In 2017, it has come down to 70.2%. (Sigh).

    • 2

      At last you wrote something sensible today. I agree 200% with you.
      But this is dead wrong:
      “In 1988, 93% of Sinhalese were Buddhists. In 2017, it has come down to 70.2%. (Sigh).” Check your statistics .
      But the fact is that there are NO Buddhists in this country. The “monks” are Hindus in yellow robes.

      • 2

        old codger

        According to 1881 census the Tamil Buddhist population through out this island was about 12,000.

        • 0

          NV mate, where are they now?…. except for the Tamils of certain casts who attend Buddhist Temples because they are not allowed to attend the Hindu temples.

    • 0


      2 years ago, I thought, I would never repeat alms giving. But there I had no firm thoughts about that.
      But these reactions of today s sangaya to rally round to most abusive leader of the nation in making collection for an issue that nobody would get it easily, i mean no body with a brain… – but people to spend their last bits for king robbers to get free, but no kind of such collections for making fenses against the wild elephant attacks that cost heavy life losses in remote areas of the country… ?

      I mean our people would never learn it.
      They behave 100% no second to punnakku eating cows.

      Alone the verdict of 60 pages revealed the truths that caused the court decisions.

    • 1

      Champa..or is it Chimpa, whichever , you got your statistics and the knickers in a twist. The pindapatha collection brings back the humility expected of the Budddhist monk, which is lost in the Mercedes (or is it Land Rover) riding elitist monks. One task of the Buddhist monk is to safeguard Buddhism. Collecting money from door to door to defend and liberate two people who are incarcerated for distributing plain cloth to the poor who attend Buddhist temples to observe the eight precepts is an act of compassion, and, an act towards safeguarding Buddhism and its practices. So no matter for whoever you are ringing your bell for now a days, it has nothing do with Buddhism, distribution of plain cloth to the poor, or liberating two civil servants unjustly jailed.

  • 2

    MR says “…………they only carried out legitimate instructions issued to them by the President of the country…………”.
    If carrying out the instruction is an so is issuing the instruction.
    MR is challenging “Catch me if you dare”. GoSL must oblige. MR is not that popular among Lankans.

  • 3

    Harischandra, Silredi were donated to 773,000 devotees through temples in over 11,000 grama seva divisions. President’s fund allocated 80 million and borrowed 600 million from TRC. MR’s argument above is solid and logical. Just because there is an election should the government stop delivering school uniforms? Should kids go to school wearing rags or half naked just because of the election law? The same logic applied to Silredi. Buddhists should understand that this is one of the few countries where the Buddhists are the majority. Elections have always been held; but the people’s suffering has not stopped! After all, do we have elections today?
    I think this is a landmark decision not because it questioned the validity of a commitment made by the government and followed by two long-serving government officers. The sentence is 3 years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of 140 million in total.
    Interestingly, it has opened the eyes of many Buddhists as to who they are when modern democracies challenge the traditional cultural values and beliefs that formed the bedrock of certain nations. This issue has been lengthily discussed among western intellectuals but unfortunately been limited to their own intellectual circles only.
    To Champa, I just clarified how government surveys are being conducted at village level in Sri Lanka. I did not question your inherent right to express your ideas freely and the length and width of your comments. Sorry if you are hurt!

    • 1

      Puran Appu

      “Interestingly, it has opened the eyes of many Buddhists as to who they are when modern democracies challenge the traditional cultural values and beliefs that formed the bedrock of certain nations. “

      Did this open the eyes of many Buddhists as to who they are? Didn’t they know who they were before this free issue of ‘Sil Redi’ imported from China? Do you remember free rice imported from Moon?

      So we need to give them free rice imported from moon and free sil redi imported from Mars in order to open their eyes.

      Its for the local temples to find the funds locally to purchase the clothes if indeed the devotees were unable to afford it. Large scale state purchases are not meant to help the poor but maintain a healthy bank balances of the crooks both politicians and state functionaries.

      • 0

        NV mate, you and I are not public servants of the resplendent island, but at the election the lucky 1.5 million of them public servants were promised Rs 10,000 per month until death do us part (us being the government and the public employees), and they voted one and all for the winner.. that 10,000 mate cannot come from China, so the winning buggers now have to sell grandma’s jewelry, silver and even the walang kabal, to pay the piper, now that being not enough the winner is printing the peacocks left right and center .
        Machang 1.5 million lucky folks getting 10,000 per month, 120,000 a year, for the rest of their time on the rock, mate you do the math, you were the smart one in school and all that. A lot more that 600 million thinks this low IQ Hara pora.

        • 1


          Do you want me to pay the 1.5 million folks what they were promised by the crooks, Rs 10,000 per month until their death?

  • 1

    TRC gets revenue from selling communication frequencies and taxes on mobile operators. Poor people who buy Rs 100 reload for their mobile, pay about Rs 40 as taxes and part goes to TRC. There is no provision within TRC to distribute funds for Sil Redi or other promotional work. Moreover, as the verdict clearly shows, lalith weeratunga violated procedures.
    Unless you are a racist- did you ask TRC or other Govt agencies to distribute religious objects (like Sil redi) to the Muslims, Hindus and the Christians in the country. As this information did not come in the SIL REDI case, we can conclude that you are a racist.
    Mr Ex-President as you are writing to Colombo Telegraph now- can you also write how Rs 140 Mn from the Tsunami fund – ended up in “Helping Hambantaota” a private account held by your sister. The same Lalith Weeratunga as then then Prfme Mminister’s secretary signed the cheque to siphon the funds. All the evidence was there. Only former CJ Sarath Silva saved you and lalith weeratunga from jail that time and Sarath Silva has publicly said he later regretted his unlawful intervention.
    How can we trust you Mr Ex- President- who violated evey law on erlections to agin an upper hand. The massive advetising bills at ITN, Rupahavini state Press running to over Rs 1000Mn yet to be paid.
    Then you recorded a program “Janapathi Oba amathai” to be aired just before the Presidential election which was stopped by the elerctions Commissioner. That program later aired on TNL shows you and the Secretaries (Lalith weeratunga, Priyath Bandu -PORTS authority; Wijesiri-RDA Chairman and Gamini Senarath – Pvt Secretary) with a hand picked team of journalist asking questions on allegations of corruption against you, as the electorate was turning against you on corruption issues.

    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

  • 1

    We fully agree with you “To say that this conviction and sentence has shocked the country would be an understatement.” The masses that defeated you waited 2 yrs to see the corrupt go to jail. At least 2 have now being convicted. May be the UNP that did a deal with you not to prosecute your family, got scared of the BOND issue, RAVI K etc and wanted to get some of your lot gto cover up.

    We have also being shocked, how daisy Achi buys many expensive lands from bags of gems dropped on her door step. How daisy achi and Shiranthi goes to Paris for Vesak – but uses state funds running to millions visiting catholic sites. How Namal company Gowers get 100 Mn. Basil Malwana massive property is without a owner. How the astraunaut son spent millions. I can go on…

    But Mr EX President- aka Dutugamunu- please write the next Colombo Telegarph article. I have given a choice above

  • 2

    Dear Native Vedda!
    I think free rice given by the Dudley Senanayake government in 1965-70 was a legitimate and timely assistance rendered to the needy (as well as the other segments of society). I think Mrs. B too continued it. (Please correct me if I’m wrong). It may come from moon or Mars or Neptune, but the intention is to help the needy.
    This is what certain political leaders of Western democracies and their local agents in SL don’t understand. They don’t understand the honest smile of poor peasants and city laborers, genuine hospitality with friendly manners tendered to foreign visitors, Monks’ brave sacrifices to safeguard the country and nation, they called Gandhi ‘half-naked fakir’, because such traditions and values don’t exist in Western cultures.
    This doesn’t mean they have no values or traditions; don’t take me wrong. This means that they have their own traditions and values that help maintain their societies but they are different from ours.
    Therefore, you cannot transplant here what you see in the West even if it is Gospel truth because our ‘Truth’ (or our perception of the Truth) is different from theirs.
    Your last para deals with the mechanism of purchase; yes, there should be an established and accepted mechanism when purchasing any item for this type of projects. The learned judge has accepted the mechanism used, and there are no financial irregularities involved in the purchase.
    However, look at the billions of rupees this government is trying to rob from the Central Expressway project. Sirasa is revealing the entire deal (Rs. 134 billion)and its bigger than the Central Bank robbery.

    • 1

      Puran Appu

      You are recollecting from Romantic Past which has nothing to do with reality. You believe what you want to believe.

      I understand the need to provide subsidies for the needy who cannot afford decent three meals a day. It didn’t mean they needed to declare it just before the elections. Surely you know the difference between a bribe and a genuine gesture. Why did the stupid people believed in the weeping widow?

      Tell us what exactly the saffronistas’ contribution to this island in the past 200 years. The first religious war was initiated by a blood thirsty saffron clad Monk who indoctrinated the stupid Dutta Gamani to fight and killed. So did many saffronistas recently.

      How many Buddhists and their so called Buddhist monks openly opposed war crime in this island. For your information as far as I know the weeping widow committed first ever war crime in April 1971 and aided and abetted the Pakistanis to commit war crimes in Bangladesh.

      Please stop telling us how great these saffronista’s are. On the other hand I have met a few good human beings who happened to wear saffron robe and follow Buddha’s teaching. I have immense respect for them.

      The public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala is not one of them.

  • 2

    A judgement has been given by the HC after hearing ALL the evidence. We the, citizenry need to respect/honour that judgement, now that the independence of the judiciary has been re-established (after it was devoured by the Head of Government of the previous Regime). If any party is not in agreement with this decision and wishes to challenge it, then there is a process that can be followed which entails making an Appeal to a Higher Court. Statements such as this piece of writing does not serve any purpose other than subjecting the Judiciary into disrepute, for which the writer can be prosecuted. One needs to refrain from commenting on issues that are sub-judice (as an Appeal has been filed). The writer appears to act like the Judge, the Jury and the Executioner. He / his Author should realise that he is no longer in power and his used by date in long past and most People have no interest in his opinion! Please retire from Politics and permit the elected Rulers to govern. Let the rule of law take its course.

  • 1

    Has anyone checked 620 million for 1000000 Sil-Redi is correct or not ?
    BTW as JVP said sil redy when tied together can wrap around the island 3 times. It can protect the whole island , 3 fold, not just Buddha Sasana.

    Sil REdda is not more than 2m long and may be 600 wide. It means from a white 1m length of plain white polyester cotton fabric , two sil cloths can be made easily. Cost of a sil redda is therefore costs only Rs 37 ( if you buy from Alibaba.com, made in Sri Lanka it is 0.5$ per m ). This means total cost is 37,000,000 rupees. You roughly double it and 62 million only. Here agian our Sri Lankan Alibaba has earned 20 time profit , gone to Podi Baba in Dubai.

  • 0

    I get the correct picture now. Former President has nothing to do with Rs. 600 million Sil Redi Case.–

    The involvement of Economic Affairs Ministry tells it all.

    This is bitter. I don’t want to see Lalith/Anusha in jail. I don’t like people suffering in jail. I wish their Appeal be successful.This should not stand prejudice to anybody. But I have to say what I have to say.—

    We owe nothing to Basil or Laith but we owe lot to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I don’t support him but I must set the record straight, otherwise my conscience will bother me nonstop.–

    The entire project seemed to have handled by Economic Affairs Ministry and the TRC, not by the Presidential Secretariat. Lalith’s involvement in this case is as Chairman/TRC not as Secretary to President.–

    Former President has nothing to do with TRC account, money or the Sil Redi project.

    It was between Basil and Lalith. They seem to have misused a Presidential directive.

    As far as I could remember, Lalith didn’t mention anything about Economic Affairs Ministry or Basil in his statement. Lalith plainly stated that he followed President’s instructions.–

    The learned Judge seemed to have seen something amiss. That’s why he said Lalith had changed his version several times as if to hide something. In my words, Lalith tried to protect somebody, as shown clearly, it was not MR but BR.

    Why Lalith opted to defend BR not MR? The reason is obvious. On the other hand former President was his boss not Basil. It is sad Lalith let former President to take all the responsibility, blame and disrepute for something he was NOT responsible for. I feel sorry for former President. He was betrayed by near and dear ones whom he mostly trusted than outsiders.

  • 2

    Dar MR, your English has vastly improved since being dethroned as President. well done

    However I must congratulate you on your skill and courage to legitimise your crookedness with such a sad explanation. What a waste of public funds to buy votes and that too failed miserably for you. Just imagine if such money was invested in progressive economic ventures. You have been a curse to our country for the next 50 years.

  • 0

    “to approve the donation of Rs. 600 million to the President’s Special Development Fund….”
    “On 29 December 2014, Lalith …..sent a note to the Chief Accountant stating that the money……should be reimbursed………and that at least Rs. 200 million should be paid back in ……2015. “

    “DONATION” – “REIMBURSE” – “PAYING BACK” – Contradiction in terms. What is there to pay back in a Donation? What’s happening? Baffling !.

  • 0

    Ignorance in not just not knowing, resisting to learn from their mistake also ignorance. This thread is a classic example of what it would be if one plays game of politicking with public opinion.
    One time a gang used atrocities happened to Sinhala Youths as their political opportunistic ladder to commit their eventual Genocide crime. They cheated as they were placing claim of justice demised in UNHRC. Now, they are doing same thing in CT for a comeback. CT was banned to take messages to Lankawe that time. But CT is allowed now to take messages. So they want to use CT as their justice severing platform. But now they keep out of, more accurately, they frame UNHRC as a tyrant than place for justice. So they are now joining their previous tyrant CT.
    CT is not UNHRC where one seeks justice. There are prosecutors by opinion in CT. There are lawyers by opinion in CT. There are judges in their opinion by CT. CT is juror of opinion. But CT is not a place, which issues judgments as opinion. CT is only a site of education against ignorance. CT is a site for, at its high end Philosophers, professors, preachers and pupils at its lower end. The teachers and the students are the one the same, the writers and the readers. They all are Socrates in them. By questioning the say-er and proving his ignorance, they gain their knowledge. CT, unlike other commercial medias, is not for politicians who seek court rulings.

  • 0

    CT is not suitable for Criminals, crying for mercy, or wicked whining for come back. It is an ignorance of a former ruling Modaya to attempt to seek justice in CT and be questioned by them of his ignorance, got it have proved and let them to have their knowledge of him advanced and reinforced.

    Ignorance (Modayaism) rules in Lankawe. It is the same maxim form ruler to subject. How those rulers are thriving in that pervasive ignorance, so are the subjects in Lankawe too, thrive in ignorance. We explained in one of our earlier comment that why the Tamil Proverb “What the way the King is, that is the way subjects are” only apply the opposite way to a democracy. So it works as “What the way the citizens are, that is the way the rulers are”. One time, when it was fighting for the awaking in TN, DMK was used to canvass that “We all the King of this Land”. That is where the dilemma fountain to enlighten and educate the Lankawe and crate an erudite, useful society. Because the King and the subject in a democracy are one and the same, separating them to identify a convenient receptionist to infuse a new blood to create a new life form has no path to begin with.

  • 0

    Unlike king and the subject, in monarchy, where their relationship is Husband and wife, i.e. they have both their lives as king and subject and then the unified Kingdom life too, in democracy the ruler and the citizen have only one life, which is like rice and curry, where exist no individual life as rice or no individual life curry, but they remain thoroughly mixed for their use. Ruling and being ruled or being ruled and rule are the functions of the one and the same in democracy. That is very complicated and complex process. Further it is messy and imperfect system. But that is a highly civilized form, as we all know, which exist in the contemporary history of mankind. This is an invention or the evolution man has arrived in his 50,000 years of civilization, separating him from monkeys. Because of it maturity in the process of ruling, it has its disadvantage of intolerance to ignorance.

    When the ignorance is so pervasive in a society like Lankawe, and while the situation exist the ruled and ruler cannot be identified, the question of where to start to infuse the fresh new knowledge that can render a change is a difficult question to answer. The ignorant politicians are thinking they are too smart and resisting any input arriving unto them and the voters are thinking they too are too smart and resisting any input arriving in the form of education. Without enough knowledge to discharge the duties entrusted with them, they are, unwillingly or willingly, turning into hypocrites, dodgers, cheaters, crooks, defenders and ultimately murderers, rapist, looters of the country and of one to another.

  • 0

    The Lankaweyans, claimed by them as a 2500 years old civilized society, by jumping into Universal Franchise and democracy in 1933, had retracted back to the 50,0000 years from its civilization and become an in-human society by not possessing the needed knowledge the democracy needs to govern.
    ”You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time “– Abraham Lincoln

    Those who think who can fool all, all the time and refusing to learn will hurt them by their ignorance.
    Here a king is standing and competing for justice with the subjects. The turn in the court is for the King, but the Turn in CT is for the subject.
    Justice of the kings is instance, democracy takes its time. The milling process of democracy is very slow. Yet, nevertheless, because of its spread out growth as branches and bunches, in the shadow of the democratic Banyan tree, the fault makers, citizens as well as the politicians, pay their due price for their ignorance. The needed machineries and diesel fuel is already invented and available in the world, it as a whole unit. UN, UNHRC, Universal Jurisdiction……. though the Karunanidhi’s question in Poompukar is still remaining open.

    “வெயிலே இல்லாத காலத்தில் கிடைக்கின்ற நிழலால் பயனென்ன கெஞ்சி வேண்டிய பொழுது ஒதுங்கிய நீதி வந்தென்ன போயென்ன… “(what is point of having a shade when the sun had set. Whatever the heck can be with it, the justice, which his it when begged and pleaded for it, but who cares of it?)

  • 1

    We have to thank MR for episode one. Its a blessing in disguise to teach Buddhist clergy that they should go begging for alms. Now we don’t have to invite them home as they will come to our door step. Hope they will continue. When Buddha visited Rajagahanuwara he didn’t accept his father king Suddhodhnas invitation for lunch but went begging for alms embarrassing the king. Why go begging when there is an easy way out.Sell two Benz cars and collect the money. How many will know that the Pali word ”Bikku” means begger.

  • 1

    It is our Own, ‘the Voters’ Fault’, that Politicians are behaving like they own the Country.
    Actually they are the Individuals chosen by us, the People, to Represent our Wishes in Parliament!
    Politicians are acting as if they are doing us a Favour, and should be rewarded for it!
    Come on People, let the Pollies know who’s the Boss, and if they don’t listen, we should take it upon ourselves to chuck them out!

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