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Let’s Not Do This: A Wee Note To Dr Jayatileka And Mr Seneviratne

An excellent piece in the New York Times today talks about ‘Monks Gone Bad’, describing a corrupt and violent Sangha that uses hate speech and abuse against minorities and is helmed by leaders who resemble fatuous politicians and not the ‘birds of the wing’ that the Buddha wanted his mendicant followers to be. I am not here to point out the contradictions between Buddhism as taught and Buddhism as practiced, the ingloriousness of Buddhist praxis nowadays is evident for all to see. I just wanted to point out that at every instance in that article where I saw Myanmar, I could have easily inserted Sri Lanka. For every instance where I read about 969 in the news, I can insert ‘Bodu Bala Sena’. About the only words that do not require replacing are ‘anti-Muslim’, ‘minority’ and ‘hate’.

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As we all know, the police, together with the Bodu Bala Sena soon disbursed the vigil, arresting some, manhandling others, and collecting the names and pictures of most of the attendees.

The Bodu Bala Sena and its kindred run amok in Sri Lanka, like bullies in a school playground, and with not much more in the way of finesse. They hurl offensive invective towards religious minorities, and their words have resulted in quite a few violent incidents against Muslims ,and at least one against Christians, re-opening wounds in the country that are still struggling to heal after the 30 year war. They seem to operate in a space where Sri Lanka has not just lost so many lives, its economic development, and so much of its natural beauty to a long, long war. In order, perhaps, to call their attention to this, a peaceful vigil was held outside the headquarters of the Bodu Bala Sena. As we all know, the police, together with the Bodu Bala Sena soon disbursed the vigil, arresting some, manhandling others, and collecting the names and pictures of most of the attendees. Not only this, the Facebook page of the Bodu Bala Sena decided to ‘name and shame’ these attendees, causing their supporters to enact the most disgraceful bout of name-calling, verbal harassment and racist trolling that I have ever seen on social media.

One of the ‘points of order’ from the Bodu Bala Sena, its supporters and some of the media who covered the incident, was that the legitimacy of the vigil was in question because the attendees did not represent the Buddhist population, that many Muslims, Christians and Hindus were present. On Facebook, attendees are called out as ‘demalek’ ‘muslimayek’ ‘jathiyak nathe’. Indeed, an attendee tweeted that he overheard someone saying that the vigil was convened due to a ‘conspiracy of Muslims and Catholics’. So much for a critical understanding of religious history- perhaps the speaker would be better served from devoting his time to education rather than racist troublemaking! To each his own, however.
It is altogether more worrying thing that this misrepresentation of the attendees was not only picked up by the media, but that it was also the feature of an article by Malinda Seneviratne, writing in the Colombo Telegraph. The good gentleman, from his considerable experience, no doubt, is able to discern a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist, and therefore writes an entirely unnecessary article that serves only to distance himself from standing with those who attended the vigil. In response, Dr Dayan Jayatileka – who is experiencing some changes to his tune- quite rightly pointed out the flaws in Mr Seneviratne’s argument, but did it in a manner that entirely calls attention to his own accomplishments and ‘stake’ in the manner. The riposte from Mr Seneviratne was then, to accuse the good Doctor of ‘throwing his CV’ at him. I ask you, gentlemen, is this really the response to what is happening in Sri Lanka? The actions of the Bodu Bala Sena, and the complicity of the government in them are grotesque enough without the debate being reduced to puerile attacks on each other’s logic.

If you have a voice that can be heard and that has gravitas, and you both have the great privilege of this, why not turn it more fully toward more constructive dialogue? Why not ask that the rights of those who attended the vigil be defended? Countless women- because the body of the woman is so carelessly mangled in these cases- are facing vile, misogynistic abuse via Facebook from the supporters of the Bodu Bala Sena. These men direct all their perverted, violent fantasies at these girls who really do not have much in the way of legal succour. After all, the AG has instructed victims of social media attack to file complaints with the police. Yes, the very same police who put the kybosh in the vigil. Why not direct more energy into rousing the non-English speaking Buddhists to speak out against the Bodu Bala Sena with less articles in places like the Telegraph which are read by the diaspora and the English speakers? Yes, the handicap at the vigil was that there were many who attended who were ‘English speaking’- but that does not make them any less Sri Lankan, any less Buddhist, any less angry, or any less valid in their protesting attacks on minorities. Give out your voice in solidarity with each other, with those who will question the validity of the Bodu Bala Sena, and in solidarity with what must be a better tomorrow.

*Anupama Ranawana is a wishful academic and a practicing activist. She can be reached for comment via Twitter @MsAMR25

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Constructing An Anti-Islamic Bridge To America

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear” – Bertrand Russell (Unpopular Essays)

The malignant police response to the peaceful vigil organised by the Facebook group, ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’ proved one fact beyond doubt – the BBS is a protected species, protected by the Rajapaksas. According to video footage, the police acted as if they were the private army of the BBS, threatening and harassing the participants of the vigil. Clearly the police were under orders to display a zero-tolerance towards these non-violent protestors – just as they were under orders to employ a laissez-faire demeanour towards the mob attacking Fashion Bug.

The BBS will be above the law, so long as it does the Rajapaksas’ work.

The toxic conduct of the BBS can ignite an anti-Muslim Black July, jeopardise Colombo’s relations with the Islamic world and inflict a new war on Sri Lanka. Given these deadly potentialities, the order to protect and facilitate the BBS (and its offshoots) would have had to come from the very top. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa might be the Godfather of the BBS, but he could not have extended consistent patronage to an organisation trying to incite a Buddhist-Muslim conflict without the approval of his brother, the President.

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According to video footage, the police acted as if they were the private army of the BBS

Ethnic overdetermination died with the Tiger. The Siblings need a new (ethno-religious) overdetermination to prevent their Sinhala base from focusing on socio-economic issues (such as the electricity hike which will have a punitive impact on the poor/middle classes while shielding the rich). Fear of an ‘Islamic threat’ can reduce the Sinhala masses into a state of infantile compliance and make them respond to iniquitous economic-shocks with resignation rather than anger.

What about the possible loss of Islamic support, internationally? Perhaps the question should be approached from a different angle. The Rajapaksas need Islamic support because they are having problems with the West on democracy/human rights/accountability issues. If the West discards these concerns and welcomes the Rajapaksas into its fold,Colombowould not need Islamic allies.

Then there is the Magnitsky Act.

Last week, the Obama Administration imposed a travel-cum-asset ban on 12 Russian officials accused of rights violations under the Magnitsky Act. The EU plans to enact its own Magnitsky Act. Imposing generalised sanctions on a country for the crimes of its leaders amounts to collective punishment; it is unjust and ineffective – because the costs are borne not by the leaders but by the people. Laws such as the Magnitsky Act can localise punitive measures to miscreant-leaders/officials and ensure that ordinary people do not have to pay for the sins of their rulers.

Both Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapaksa are US citizens. They cannot but have properties and bank accounts in their adopted country. When President Rajapaksa needs medical help, his preferred option is the US, not China or Russia. The mere thought of the Magnitsky Act being applied against Lankan leaders/officials would thus be a nightmare for all three Siblings. Such a development may take years, but the Rajapaksas would want to take preventive measures early on, given what is at stake for them personally.

The Rajapaksas do not want to become Asian Chavezes. If there is an international model they might want to emulate it is of those Third World despots who were/are welcome in the West, despite innumerable tyrannical deeds.

How to build bridges to the West without abandoning the despotic measures necessary to maintain familial rule – that would be the Rajapaksa Gordian Knot.

One method is image-laundering. Since the Rajapaksa diplomatic and propaganda apparatuses are not up to the task of creating an Orwellian counter-reality, the job is being outsourced to Two American lobbying firms: the Majority Group and the Thompson Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG had only one reported client in 2012; its annual reported income was a measly US$ 80,000[i];Sri Lanka will pay this nonentity US$ 66,600 per month! The Majority Group seems so tiny that it does not have to disclose its lobbying details (firms with an annual income less than US$ 10,000 are exempt);Sri Lanka will pay this firm US$ 50,000 per month!

The urgent Rajapaksa need to mend fences with Washington might also explain another curious development: the BBS’s sudden American visit.

The BBS’s interest in sprucing-up its image is understandable. But why commence that image-remaking effort in theUS, a country with a Christian-majority, the home base of Evangelical churches the BBS loves to hate?

The BBS in America

The Rajapaksas continue to target their opponents/critics; the Uthayan paper was attacked, again, and the Sirisa TV was threatened, again. They have no intention of implementing the democratising recommendations of their own LLRC. They seem to be intent on either postponing the Northern provincial election or winning it by force.

They want to do all this without jeopardising the Commonwealth Summit. And they must escape the Magnitsky Act.

During the Cold War decades, the adoption of neo-liberal economics and anti-left politics sufficed for anyThird Worlddespot to become the darling of the West. Currently, a country which is anti-democratic can win Western favour only if it is seen as a target of ‘Islamic terrorism’.

Immediately after the horrendous Bostonbombing, a website notorious for rightwing insanities carried an article[ii] which blamed an Iran-Al Qaeda combine and mentioned Sri Lanka as a conduit state. According to the article’s unnamed source, Iran’s Quds Forces are collaborating with “Hezbollah and elements of al-Qaida with links to individuals in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He said that under Quds Force guidance, Hezbollah recruited Sunni terrorists allied with al-Qaida factions in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who then entered the US for terrorist activities”[iii].

Given the schisms within Islam (which cause far more murderous violence than anti-Americanism), a nexus between the Shia Iran/Hezbollah and the Sunni Al Qaeda is as impossible as Mahayanism being welcomed inSri Lankaby the BBS. But this is the sort of insane conspiracy theory which is beloved by fanatics of every religion.

And such myths are used to justify the targeting of ethnic/religious/racial ‘Other’ as the anti-Semites did with the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ hoax.

One can easily imagine a meeting of minds between the purveyors of such delusions in the US and their saffron-robed Lankan counterparts.

The Obama administration does not subscribe to the myth of an anti-Islam civilisational conflict, but a future Republican administration (fortunately an unlikely possibility) might. Islamophobia is a powerful politico-ideological current within the Republican Party. Republican Islamophobes believe that “Islamic Sharia Law is creeping into American courts; the Department of Justice has come under the sway of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the President’s engagement ring includes secret writing that indicates Muslim loyalties…. in August delegates at the Republican National Convention voted to include a plank in their platform affirming their opposition to Sharia law” (Mother Jones – 3.1.2013). The Republican Party therefore would be far more receptive to Rajapaksa overtures, if the Siblings can portray themselves as warriors battling the ‘Islamic Threat’.

Is this the message the BBS is expected to convey to the Republican right, at the grassroots level, during its American sojourn?[iv]


[i] http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/firmsum.php?id=D000057582&year=2012

[ii] The author of the article is Reza Kahlili, a self proclaimed CIA spy who in 2010 claimed that Iran “will attack Israel, European capitals, and the Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker (until a religious prophesy is fulfilled)…and kill the rest of the non-believers” (Washhington Post – 7.12.2010).Iran manifestly did not.

[iii] http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/u-s-was-warned-of-terror-attacks/ The World Net Daily is an ultra-right website infamous for its promotion of such delusions as the ‘Birther story’.

[iv] The BBS monks may have been deployed at least once previously on an unofficial diplomatic mission. Sometime in 2011, Rev. Galagoda-Atte Gnanasara Thero led a delegation to Norway. According to the CEO of the BBS, a purpose of the visit was to meet some of the hardline Tamil Diaspora groups. Why should Rev. Gnanasara et al, who relentlessly attack Tamil moderates, go all the way to Norway to meet pro-Tiger Tamils?

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Complete Text Of The Petition: Propriety Of Conduct Of Chairman, Bribery Commission In Question

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption is required to carry out a key task. The elimination of corruption and impropriety in public office by using the legal powers given to it by law. It has an investigative arm and a prosecution arm which give it serious muscle by law.

Jagath Balapatabendi

Jagath Balapatabendi

However, several political commentators and legal experts contacted by The Colombo Telegraph, effectively emphasized that in order for such a Commission to achieve its desired objective of eliminating corruption, it is necessary for the Commission to be free of political interference. Such freedom is absent, after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed the safeguards created by the 17th Amendment. At the moment, all appointment to key judicial and public offices is made at the sole whim of the Executive President (Mahinda Rajapaksa). There is a ‘Parliamentary Council’ created to give the President its views on the suitability of nominees, which has no teeth and can make no binding decision or veto. It is widely condemned as a mere cosmetic constitutional device of no functional use.

In this situation, the integrity and reliability of holders of the highest offices is often called in question. Appointed by political patronage to the Rajapaksa Regime, many key public and judicial officers blatantly engage in various types of conduct which are against international norms of integrity and propriety. According to a key political commentator spoken to by The Colombo Telegraph, they do so, secure in the knowledge that the Rajapaksa Regime will protect them, as long as they remain faithful and do the regime’s bidding.

Serious concerns have been raised in recent times that the Bribery Commission is now being abused to intimidate and harass political opponents and falling out of grace with the Rajapaksa Regime.

In this background, the latest scandal is the revelation that retired Supreme Court Judge D. Jagath De S. Balapatabendi who as Chairman of the Bribery Commission is required to be independent of involvements or interests in relation to private sector companies, has acted as an arbitrator in a commercial dispute. The propriety of his functioning simultaneously as an arbitrator while being Chairman, Bribery Commission has been challenged, in a petition to the High Court of Colombo on the grounds that it is contrary to public policy.

In Case No. HC (Civil) WP 64/2013/ARB, the Petitioner (Delmege Forsyth & Co. Ltd.), seeks to have an award made on 20th February 2013 by a private arbitral tribunal presided over by Rtd. Justice D. J. De S. Balapatabendi after hearings conducted while holding the office of Chairman, Bribery Commission set aside. It is urged that the award is perverse and requires to be set aside as being contrary to public policy.

Here is the full text of the Petition, which is self-explanatory:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE WESTERN PROVINCE

SITTING IN COLOMBO

IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS CIVIL JURISDICTION

YCC EXPORTERS LIMITED

No. 133/8, Gothami Road

Rajagiriya

                                    CLAIMANT

                                                                                                            Vs.

DELMEGE DISTRIBUTORS (PVT) LTD.

No. 101, Vinayalankara Mawatha

Colombo 10.

                                    RESPONDENT

                        AND NOW

In the matter of an Application to set aside Arbitral Awards in terms of Section 32 of the Arbitration Act No. 11 of 1995

DELMEGE FORSYTH & CO. LTD., with which Company DELMEGE DISTRIBUTORS (PVT) LTD., is now amalgamated with,

and of No. 101, Vinayalankara Mawatha

Colombo 10.

                    RESPONDENT-PETITIONER

H.C. (Civil) WP Case No. 64/2013/ARB                                           Vs.

YCC EXPORTERS LIMITED

No. 133/8, Gothami Road

Rajagiriya

                    CLAIMANT-RESPONDENT

On this 5th day of April 2013

The Petition of the Respondent-Petitioner abovenamed appearing by Yamuna Balasuriya, Attorney-at-Law, practising under the name, style and firm of V. W. Kularatne Associates and her Professional Assistant, Vijayalakshmi Deepani Niroshini Wijesekera, its Attorneys-at-Law, states as follows:

1. The Respondent-Petitioner abovenamed (hereinafter sometimes referred to as the “Petitioner”) was a Company duly incorporated under the laws of Sri Lanka and has its Office at the aforementioned address, and on 13th June 2012 the Delmege Distributors (Pvt) Ltd., the Respondent in the Arbitration referred to herein was amalgamated with Delmege Forsyth & Co. Ltd., at the same aforesaid address, within the jurisdiction of Your Honour’s Court. The management control and majority Shareholdings of  Delmege Forsyth & Co. Ltd. changed in or about June 2011.

A true copy of the Certificate of Amalgamation issued by the Registrar General of Companies dated 13th June 2012 is annexed hereto marked “P1”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

2. The Claimant-Respondent abovenamed (hereinafter sometimes referred to as the “Respondent”) is a Company duly incorporated under the laws of Sri Lanka and has its Office at the aforementioned address, within the jurisdiction of Your Honour’s Court.

3. On or about 10th May 2007 a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into between the Respondent and the Petitioner, and in pursuant thereto on or about 28th May 2007 an Agreement was entered into between the Respondent and the Petitioner.

True copies of the said Memorandum of  Understanding dated 10th May 2007 and the said Agreement dated 28th May 2007 are annexed hereto marked “P2” and “P3”, respectively, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

4.

(a)  Under and in terms of the aforesaid Memorandum of Understanding [P2] and Agreement [P3] the Petitioner advanced to the Respondent a Loan of Rs. 20 Mn., of which Rs. 2 Mn., was advanced on 11th May 2007 upon the execution of the Memorandum of Understanding [P2], and the balance Rs. 18 Mn., was advanced on 28th May 2007 upon the execution of the said Agreement [P3], and the Respondent signed a Promissory Note dated 28th May 2007 promising to pay on demand the said Rs. 20 Mn., to the Petitioner.

A true copy of the said Promissory Note dated 28th May 2007 is annexed hereto marked “P4”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(b)  It is evident that the Petitioner had advanced by way of Loans a substantial sum of Rs. 20 Mn., as had been required by the Respondent, obviously in circumstances of financial predicament, which the Respondent had been in.

5. Under and in terms of the said Memorandum of Understanding [P2] and Agreement [P3]

(a)          The Respondent appointed the Petitioner as the exclusive Licensee and Distributor of the products under the “Doctor Baby” Brand Name, claimed to have been owned by the Respondent.

(b)         For the aforesaid Brand Name, the Petitioner was to pay to the Respondent a Royalty Fee of Rupees One Million Five Hundred Thousand (Rs. 1,500,000/-) per month or Ten Percent (10%) of the Net Sales Price, whichever is higher, in respect of each Month.

(c)          The aforesaid Royalty Fee payable per Month was to be set-off as part repayments of the aforesaid Loan of Rupees Twenty Million (Rs. 20 Mn.) with interest thereon calculated at the market rate of interest to be determined by the Bank of the Petitioner being applied on the diminishing balance, after the recoupment of the Monthly Royalty Fee.

6.

(a)  In terms of Clause 3(1) of the aforesaid Agreement [P3], the aforesaid Loan was to be re-paid with interest thereon calculated at the market rate of interest to be determined by the Bank of the Petitioner, which rate of interest had been confirmed to be 19% p.a., as evidenced by the confirmation Statement dated 29th February 2008 of the Respondent [P5].

(b)  The said confirmation dated 29th February 2008 of the Respondent [P5] further confirmed the debt of Rs. 24,111,947/- as at 29th February 2008 by the Respondent to the Petitioner, with no debt, whatsoever, due to the Respondent from the Petitioner as at that date 29th February 2008.

A true copy of the said confirmation Statement dated 29th February 2008 is annexed hereto marked “P5”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

7.

(a)  Though the Agreement [P3] was entered into on 28th May 2007, due to practicalities, the actual operations of the arrangements contemplated under the said Agreement [P3] had not immediately commenced, and had commenced only subsequently.

(b)   Among the reasons for the frustration of such commencement of operations immediately after entering into Agreement [P3] on 28th May 2007, had been;

(i)     the inability on the part of the Respondent to have readily made available the products for distribution and sales by the Petitioner, inter-alia, due to the default of payments by them to their respective Suppliers of the products, and

(ii)   also due to the absence of the requisite approvals therefor, which had to be obtained and provided by the Respondent from the Cosmetics, Devices & Drugs Regulatory Authority.

8.

(a)   In such circumstances, as had been requested by the Respondent, the following further Loan Advances had been made by the Petitioner to the Respondent;

10th December 2007    –           Rs. 1,500,000/-

26th March 2008          –           Rs. 1,700,000/-

25th June 2008             –           Rs.    750,000/-

Rs. 3,950,000/-

(b)  The Statement [P5] dated 29th February 2008 given by the Respondent had confirmed that the Respondent owed the Petitioner Rs. 24,411,947/- as at 29th February 2008, having acknowledged the payment of Rs. 1,500,000/- on 10th December 2007, then described as Royalty, that too, only in the Month of December 2007, and not before; but later acknowledged by the Respondent on 25th June 2008 vide [P6] as a Loan as referred to at 8(a) hereinabove.

(c) Consequently in such circumstances, the Petitioner and Respondent by Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6] had further jointly agreed as follows;

(i)           for the Petitioner to make a minimum Royalty payment of Rs. 700,000/- per Month to the Respondent, until 10% of the actual Sales exceeded Rs. 700,000/- per Month, without making any recoupment from the aforesaid Loans.

(ii)         that the Petitioner would recover from the Respondent monies on the aforesaid Loans of Rs. 20,000,000/- and Rs. 3,950,000/- , including the aforesaid payment made in December 2007, which had previously been described as Royalty and later treated as a Loan as aforesaid, from Royalties in excess of Rs. 700,000/- per Month.

(iii)       that a total of Rs. 8,739,251/- (i.e. Rs. 206,137/- + Rs. 4,199,781/- + Rs. 4,333,333/-) was  due to the Petitioner from the Respondent as at 30th June 2008, in addition to the aforesaid Loans of Rs. 23,950,000/-, and that nothing was due to the Respondent from the Petitioner  as at 30th June 2008.

(iv)       the said Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6] jointly signed by the Petitioner and Respondent constituted an amendment to the Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007.

(v)         accordingly the minimum Royalty payable of Rs. 1,500,000/- per Month as per Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 had been abandoned by the aforesaid joint Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6] stipulating a new minimum Royalty of Rs. 700,000/- per Month to be paid by the Petitioner to the Respondent, without any recoupment against the aforesaid Loans, and anything in excess of Rs, 700,000/- per Month up to 10%, as Royalty on the total sales, to be recouped as re-payments against the aforesaid Loans to the Petitioner.

      A true copy of the said Letter dated 25th June 2008 is annexed hereto marked “P6”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(d)  It is evident from the foregoing that the then prevalent Sales of the said “Doctor Baby” products of the Respondent had not been adequate enough to recoup the aforesaid Loans advanced by the Petitioner to the Respondent, as had been required by the Respondent to be recouped from the aforesaid future Royalties on the said Sales of the said “Doctor Baby” products of the Respondent, as had been contemplated in the Agreement [P3].

9.

(a)  Thereafter several disputes had arisen between the Petitioner and the Respondent, resulting in the Petitioner terminating the aforesaid Agreement [P3], read together with joint Letter dated 25th June 2010  [P6], with effect from 30th June 2010 by the Petitioner’s Letter dated 31st March 2010 [P7], in terms of Clause 6(6) of the said Agreement [P3].

(b)  The said termination of  the Agreement [P3], read together with joint Letter dated 25th June 2010  [P6],  being within a period of 5 years from the date of the said Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007, the following proviso of Clause 6(6) of the said Agreement [P3] came into force and operation;

“Provided if the Agreement is so terminated before the expiry of a period of Five years from the date hereof YCC shall refund all monies remaining in its hands out of the said sum of Rs.20,000,000/- to Delmege.”

(c)  The said Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 contained the following Clause 6(6):

“6(6) Delmege shall as any time during the currency of this Agreement have the right of terminating this Agreement by giving YCC Ninety (90) days written notice of such termination and upon termination or sooner determination of this Agreement, Delmege shall immediately cease the use of the Brand Name, unless it has purchased the same hereunder from YCC.

Provided if the Agreement is so terminated before the expiry of a period of Five years from the date hereof YCC shall refund all monies remaining in its hands out of the said sum of Rs.20,000,000/- to Delmege.” (Emphasis added)

(d)  Thus, under and in terms of the said Clause 6(6), the Petitioner terminated the said Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007, read together with joint Letter dated 25th June 2010  [P6], with effect from 30th June 2010 i.e. after the effluxion of a period of 3 years and one month, which was before the expiry of a period of 5 years from the date of said Agreement [P3], whereupon the aforesaid proviso in Clause 6(6) came into force and operation.

A true copy of the Petitioner’s Letter dated 31st March 2010 terminating the said Agreement is annexed hereto marked “P7”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

10. The said Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 contained the following further Clauses:

(a)    Clause 4(2)

“At the termination of this Agreement by efflux of time or the sooner determination thereof;

(a)     any Royalty Fee remaining unsettled as aforesaid shall be paid and settled by Delmege to and on demand by YCC; and

(b)     any, Royalty Fee paid in excess of the required amount remaining with YCC shall be refunded by YCC to Delmege on demand together with the aforesaid interest thereon; “

(b)  Clause 4(4)

“At the termination this Agreement by efflux of time or the sooner determination thereof, Delmege may put the said Promissory Note in suit to recover any sums of money from and out of the Upfront Payment remaining unpaid by YCC hereunder and, if all such monies due have been paid and settled by YCC, then the said Promissory Note shall be returned to YCC by Delmege.”

(c)    Clause 7(5)

“The termination of this Agreement by afflux of time or the sooner determination thereof as aforesaid shall not affect the rights of either of the parties hereto from claiming and recovering from the other of them all dues and properties that may have become payable or recoverable by the date of each termination or sooner determination. “

11. (a)  Nevertheless, by Letter dated 10th June 2010, the Respondent, acting through Mahinda Ellepola, Attorney-at-Law, referred the matter for Arbitration, nominating Dudley A. Karunaratne, Retired High Court Judge, as the Sole Arbitrator, and giving 30 day’s notice to the Petitioner to nominate the Petitioner’s Arbitrator, if the Petitioner does not agree to a Sole Arbitrator.

eto marked “P8”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(b)  Consequently, the Petitioner sent Letter of Demand dated 2nd July 2010 to the Respondent, claiming a sum of Rs. 24,045,280/44 from the Respondent.

      A true copy of the said Letter of Demand dated 2nd July 2010 is annexed hereto marked “P9”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(c)  Thereafter, the Petitioner by Letter dated 8th July 2010 addressed to the aforesaid Mahinda Ellepola, Attorney-at-Law for the Respondent, denied the allegations in the aforesaid Letter dated 10th June 2010 [P8] of the said Attorney-at-Law, as baseless and malicious, and stated that the Respondent had failed to duly comply with its obligations under the said Agreement [P3)], and reiterated its demand for the payment by the Respondent of Rs. 24,045,280/44 made by the aforesaid Letter of Demand dated 2nd July 2010 [P9], and subject thereto, nominated Kushan D’ Alwis, Attorney-at-Law, as the Petitioner’s Arbitrator.

A true copy of the said Letter dated 8th July 2010 is annexed hereto marked “P10”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

12.

(a)  Consequently, in terms of Section 6(3) of the Arbitration Act No. 11 of 1995, the retired Supreme Court Judge, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi had been appointed, as an additional Arbitrator to act as the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, as evidenced by Letter dated 4th August 2010 received from the Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre.

A true copy of the said Letter dated 4th August 2010 is annexed hereto marked “P11”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(b)  Accordingly, Arbitral Proceedings commenced at the Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre, Colombo 2, within the jurisdiction  of Your Honour’s Court.

(c)  As at the date of the aforesaid appointment, as the Chairman Arbitrator, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi had retired on or about 17th May 2010, as a Supreme Court Judge.

(d)  Subsequently however, the said  D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi had been appointed on or about 13th May 2011, as a Member of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption in terms of Act No. 19 of 1994, and had been appointed as Chairman of the said Commission.

(e)  In terms of Section 18 of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Act No. 19 of 1994, the said Chairman of the Commission,  D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi was deemed to be a ‘public servant’, within the meaning of the Penal Code, which at Section 19 thereof defined a ‘public servant’.

13. (a) The Petitioner is advised that in the foregoing circumstances, the said Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi having assumed Office, as the Chairman and Commission Member of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, became a ‘public servant’, as aforesaid, exercising executive and quasi-judicial power, and was thus and thereby ipso facto disqualified from functioning, as Chairman of a private Arbitral Tribunal, involving commercial disputes between private parties, and receiving payments therefor from the private parties.

(b)  Unlike other ‘public servants’, Supreme Court Judges in Sri Lanka retire at the age of 65 years with 90% of the salary, allowances and other perquisites, so that such persons are not compelled to seek post retirement employment.

(c)  Nevertheless, in this instance in terms of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Act No. 19 of 1994, retired Supreme Court Judges are appointed as Commission Members of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, with further lucrative allowances and perquisites.

14. (a)  In the foregoing circumstances, the Petitioner is advised, that the Arbitral Tribunal ipso facto became improperly constituted and functus, with the appointment of the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, as the Chairman and Member of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

(b)  As a consequence, the Arbitral Tribunal ipso facto becoming improperly constituted and functus as aforesaid on or about the said 13th May 2011, thus and thereby the Arbitral Awards made on 20th February 2013 by the said improperly constituted and functus Arbitral Tribunal were ipso facto ab-initio null and void and of no force or avail in law.

(c)  The Petitioner ill-advisedly continuing to be a party in such Arbitration Proceedings, did not however or in any manner, whatsoever or howsoever, cure the aforesaid impropriety and the fact that the Arbitral Tribunal ipso facto became functus from around 13th May 2011 as aforesaid.

(d) It was the duty and obligation cast upon the said Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, a retired Supreme Court Judge, to have withdrawn from such Arbitral Tribunal immediately upon assuming Office, as Chairman and Commission Member of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

15. (a)  It was highly scandalous and of serious odium for the Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, exercising executive and quasi-judicial power to investigate and prosecute offences of bribery and corruption, to have involved himself to have chaired private disputes settlements, leaving himself exposed to be compromised by private parties, who make payment for his such services, as Chairman of a private Arbitral Tribunal.

(b)  The ‘public perception’, which is vitally important of the independence of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, in the foregoing circumstances is susceptible to be seriously put in jeopardy.

(c)  The foregoing was in serious conflict with the Public Policy of Sri Lanka, warranting the prompt setting aside, as ipso facto ab-initio null and void, the purported Arbitral Awards made on 20th February 2013 by the said improperly constituted and functus Arbitral Tribunal.

(d)  Sri Lanka had ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption on 31st March 2004, which encompassed both the public and private sectors, whereby Sri Lanka stands obliged to duly observe, perform and fulfill the duties and obligations on its part under the UN Convention Against Corruption; more so it is imperative on the part of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to  respect and conform to the duties and obligations under the UN Convention Against Corruption.

16. (a)  Regardless of the foregoing, the said Arbitral Tribunal, chaired by D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, had continued to conduct Arbitration Proceedings, having previously entertained the Claim of the Respondent dated 31st August 2010.

A certified copy of said Claim dated 31st August 2010  is annexed hereto marked “P12”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(b)  The Petitioner, as was obliged, responded by the Statement of Defence dated 8th October 2010, including its aforesaid Claim of Rs. 24,045,280/44 made by its aforesaid Letter dated 2nd July 2010 [P9] against the Respondent.

A certified copy of the said Statement of Defence dated 8th October 2010 is annexed hereto marked “P13”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

18. (a)  The aforesaid Arbitral Tribunal as had been notified by Letter dated 4th August 2010 [P11] had commenced Arbitration Proceedings, with the Statement of Claim dated 31st August 2010 [P12] having been tendered, and had proceeded to sit on or about 11 days up to 30th March 2011, at which point of time the Inquiry had commenced with proceedings having been had on two days.

(b)  Thereafter, the  aforesaid improperly constituted and functus Arbitral Tribunal had regardlessly proceeded to continue to conduct the said Arbitration Proceedings, with the Inquiry being  continued on 20th May 2011, after the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi had assumed Office on or about 13th May 2011, as a Member and the Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, as aforesaid.

(c) Thus, the improperly constituted and functus Arbitral Tribunal had sat on or about 18 days thereafter conducting the said Inquiry, recording evidence, receiving Written Submissions, hearing Oral Submissions, and  consequently had made Awards on 20th February 2013, whilst the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, was at the very same time, also the Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

Certified copies of a bundle of Documents consisting of all papers filed before the Arbitral Tribunal, including recorded evidence, oral and written submissions, are annexed hereto at the end, compendiously marked “P16”, pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(d)  The Petitioner very respectfully reserves the right to tender any further relevant Documents, which would be material to assist Your Honour’s Court to adjudicate upon this matter.

(e) (i)   Though the Respondent had held out, more particularly, as per Documents marked

P2 dated 10.5.2007

                                                P3 dated 28.5.2007

                                                P4 dated 28.5.2007

                                                P5 dated 29.2.2008

                                                P6 dated 25.6.2008

                                                P8 dated 10.6.2010

                                                P11 dated 4.8.2010

                                                P12 dated 31.8.2010

that the Respondent was a Public Limited Liability Company without describing itself as a Private Limited Liability Company as mandatorily required in terms of Section 6 of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, which came into force on 3.5.2007, the Petitioner in endeavouring to obtain the Annual Accounts of the Respondent from the Registrar of Companies recently discovered that the Respondent was a Private Limited Liability Company, without describing itself correctly, in violation of the said mandatory requirement under Section 6 of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007.

(ii)  In the circumstances, the Petitioner having been unable to obtain copies of Annual Accounts of the Respondent, respectfully moves for an Order of Your Honour’s Court that the Petitioner be permitted to obtain copies of same from the Registrar of Companies and to tender the same to Your Honour’s Court for the proper adjudication of this matter.

(f)    On the other hand, the Petitioner had correctly described itself as mandated, as a Private Limited Company under and in terms of Section 6 of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007

18. (a)  The Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, who was also the Chairman of the   Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, with the Respondent’s Arbitrator, Dudley Karunaratne agreeing, had made a phenomenal baseless Award in favour of the Respondent, tantamounting  to conjecture, without having taken any cognizance of the past actual financials of the Respondent, and amounting in total to Rs. 145.5 Mn., (Rs. 55.5 Mn., + Rs. 90 Mn.), having also questionably ignored the interest payable by the Respondent on the substantial aforesaid Loans amounting to Rs. 23,950,000/-, which had been advanced to the Respondent by the Petitioner, as per the aforesaid Agreement [P3], read with joint Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6], as morefully set out hereinbelow.

(i)                 A Royalty payment of Rs. 1.5 Mn., per month from the date of Agreement [P3] of 28th May 2007 up to the date of termination of the Agreement [P3] on 30th June 2010 i.e. for 37 months, totaling Rs. 55.5 Mn., less the 3 Loans advanced of Rs. 3.95 Mn., referred to at paragraph 8 hereinbefore; without having taken into account the interest of 19% p.a. payable on such Loans as set out hereinbefore, and also intriguingly having chosen to ignore that the Respondent and Petitioner had, in fact, agreed by Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6], to amend the said Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 and that the Respondent had confirmed having owed monies to the Petitioner  as at 30th June 2008, as set out at paragraph 8 hereinbefore.

(ii)               In addition to the above, a further payment of damages purportedly based on the Royalty payments lost by the Respondent of Rs. 1.5 Mn., per month for another future 5 years i.e. for 60 months, making a total of Rs. 90 Mn., from which the aforesaid original Loan of Rs. 20 Mn., paid in May 2007 upon signing of Agreement [P3] had been deducted, that too, questionably without having taken into account the interest payable of 19% p.a. on such Loan as morefully set out hereinbefore; and furthermore without having examined the Respondent’s actual financials for a relevant period before the Petitioner entered into Agreement [P3] in May 2007 with the Respondent, and without having taken  cognizance of the cogent fact that the Agreement [P3] stood amended by the joint Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6].

(iii)             Intriguingly, the foregoing interest payable of 19% p.a. had been omitted, notwithstanding the fact that the Petitioner’s Arbitrator, Kushan D’ Alwis in his dissenting Award had provided for such 19% p.a. interest payable by the Respondent to the Petitioner on the aforesaid Loans, which therefore the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi, and Respondent’s Arbitrator, Dudley Karunaratne would have been well and truly aware of.

(b)  On the other hand, the Petitioner’s Arbitrator, Kushan D’ Alwis, Attorney-at-Law, dissenting with the foregoing phenomenal Award based on conjecture, had written a separate Order, awarding the Respondent in contrast Rs. 6.04 Mn.; that too, without having taken cognizance of the cogent fact that Agreement [P3] stood amended by the joint Letter dated 25th June 2008 [P6] and that the Respondent had thereby confirmed that the Respondent owed monies to the Petitioner as at 30th June 2008.

Certified copies of the aforesaid Award and the said dissenting Award are annexed hereto marked “P14(a)” and “P14(b)”, respectively,

             together with Letter dated 4th April 2013 of Dissanayake Amaratunga Associates, Attorneys-at-Law annexed hereto marked “P15” confirming that they had not received Certified Copies of the aforesaid Awards  dated 20th February 2013, even though the Proceedings before the  Arbitral Tribunal of 20th February 2013 – vide [P16] had recorded thus in contravention of Section 25 (4) of Arbitration Act No. 11 of 1995

    “The Registrar of the Arbitration Centre is directed to send certified copies of the Award and the Dissenting Order to the parties concerned by the registered post”

pleaded as part and parcel hereof

(c)  (i)      The Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 in proviso at Clause 6(6) had specifically stipulated thus, which was applicable in this instant case:

Provided if the Agreement is so terminated before the expiry of a period of Five years from the date hereof YCC shall refund all monies remaining in its hands out of the said sum of Rs.20,000,000/- to Delmege.”

(ii)     The Petitioner in its Statement of Defence [P13] dated 8th October 2010 had stated its Claim of Rs. 24,045,280/44 as had been demanded by its Letter dated 2nd July 2010 [P9] from the Respondent, with the Respondent having given the Petitioner a Promissory Note dated 28th May 2007 [P4].

(iii)    Clause 2 (4) of the Agreement [P3] dated 28th May 2007 is given below:

“2(4)   within a time period of five (05) years of signing this Agreement, agrees to sell outright and absolutely assign the Brand Name to Delmege in due form of Law for the price or consideration of United States Dollars Two Million (Rs. 2,000,000/-), if Delmege has notified YCC in writing of its intention to so purchase the Brand Name such notice to reach YCC at least fourteen (14) days prior to the intended date of purchase, it being declared and understood that if such notice is not received by YCC as aforesaid, YCC shall have the right to refuse to so sell the Brand Name to Delmege.”

The foregoing is in contravention of the Exchange Control Act, thereby raising the issue that Agreement [P3] is an illegal contract, and thus and thereby would be repugnant of and in conflict with Public Policy.

19. Being aggrieved with the said purported Arbitral Awards made on 20th February 2013 by the aforesaid improperly constituted and functus Arbitral Tribunal, the Petitioner very respectfully invokes the jurisdiction of Your Honour’s Court, and moves to have the said purported Arbitral Awards set aside, on the following, among other grounds, that may be urged by the Counsel for the Petitioner at the Hearing of this Application.

(a)    The Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal, D.J. de Silva Balapatabendi became disqualified from being a Member of the Arbitral Tribunal and Chairman thereof, upon assuming the public office of a quasi-judicial nature on or about 13th May 2011, as a Member and Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, thereby ipso facto disqualifying him to have continuing to be a Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal.

(b)   Thus and thereby on or about 13th May 2011 the foregoing rendered the Arbitral Tribunal to ipso facto become improperly constituted and functus, and whereby the aforesaid Awards made on 20th February 2013 to be ab-initio, null and void and of no force or avail in law.

(c)    The foregoing Arbitral Proceedings, including the aforesaid purported Arbitral Awards are thus and thereby scandalous and in serious conflict with the Public Policy of Sri Lanka, causing grave public odium.

(d)   The purported Awards are contrary to the covenants in the Agreement [P3], dated 28th May 2007, read together with the joint Letter dated 28th June 2008 [P6] between the Respondent and the Petitioner.

(e)    The foregoing purported Awards are contrary to the Laws of Sri Lanka and are in conflict with Public Policy of Sri Lanka.

(f)    The said purported Awards contain decisions on matters not falling within the purview of the Terms of Reference.

(g)    The said purported Awards deal with disputes not contemplated by and not falling within the submissions to Arbitration and also contain matters beyond the scope of submission to Arbitration.

(h)   The foregoing purported Awards had been made in the absence of and without any examination of the actual financials of the Respondent.

(i)     The foregoing purported Awards had gravely failed to take cognizance of the fact that the Agreement [P3], which stood amended as aforesaid and the consequent arrangements tantamounted to an ‘unfair contract’.

20. (a)  If the interim relief sought for herein is not granted, irreparable loss and damage and irremediable mischief would be caused to the Petitioner.

(b)  The Petitioner reserves the right to support for interim relief at an appropriate stage.

21. The Petitioner has not previously invoked the jurisdiction of Your Honour’s Court in respect of this matter.

22. The Affidavit of the Group Managing Director of Delmege Forsyth & Co. Ltd., with which Company, Delmege Distributors (Pvt) Ltd., is now amalgamated, is annexed hereto in support of the averments herein contained.

WHEREFORE the Petitioner very respectfully prays that Your Honour’s Court be pleased to:

(a)                set aside the Arbitral Awards delivered on 20th February 2013,

(b)               grant interim relief staying the operation and enforcement of the Arbitral Awards delivered on 20th February 2013, until the hearing and final determination of this Application,

(c)                make an Order declaring that the Petitioner is entitled to obtain certified copies of the Annual Accounts of the Respondent from the Registrar of Companies to be tendered to Your Honour’s Court for the adjudication of this matter

(d)               grant costs, and

(e)                grant such other and further reliefs as Your Honour’s Court shall seem meet

Settled by:

Viran Corea, Attorney-at-Law

M.A. Sumanthiran, Attorney-at-Law

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Foreign Affairs

Extreme World: Is Sweden as Clean as it Seems

Ceybank Asset Management (CAM), Sri Lanka’s largest unit trust fund manager, has launched an open ended gilt-edged fund aiming to attract small investors especially in rural areas, officials said.

The ‘Ceybank Surakum’ fund will invest in government Treasury bills and bonds and other government-backed securities but not in equities and aim to give a return higher than interest rates on bank deposits which have been falling.
Chitra Sathkumara, chief executive of CAM, said their initial target is to raise at least two billion rupees

“This will give small investors a better choice,” he told a news conference.

“In Sri Lanka most people invest a part of their money in savings accounts and fixed deposits but interest rates on savings accounts are falling while the cost of living is increasing, and people get poorer.”

This had prompted some investors to search for high interest yielding but risky products and lose money in financial scams, he said.

“Many investors lost their life saving trying to get super returns. The Surakum fund aims to earn returns above savings accounts while ensuring safety. We aim to bridge the gap between savers and investors through this fund.”

The minimum investment in the fund is 10,000 rupees and each unit 10 rupees.

The Ceybank Surakum fund will pay two dividends a year in January and July, with the first dividend being paid in July 2011.

Dividends from investments are tax free, the investments can be encashed at the prevailing market price and investors can switching their money among other funds managed by CAM.

The fund will be marketed with the help of the branch network of the state-owned Bank of Ceylon, which has a 43.4 percent stake in CAM.

Other shareholders are state-owned Sri Lanka Insurance, Carson Cumberbatch & Co. and Unit Trust of India, said K Hewage, chairman of Ceybank Asset Management.

Proposals in the government’s 2011 budget announced last week exempting unit trusts from certain taxes and relaxing foreign exchange controls to allow foreigners to invest in the funds will help promote the industry, he said.
The budget also made income earned by unit trusts from listed stocks and bonds free from income tax.

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka extend support to legal affairs in Fiji island

(SLBC) Sri Lanka is to provide support to enhance legal section in Fiji Island. Visiting Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Harold met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees this morning. At the discussion he pointed out that many Sri Lankan legal experts are engaged in state and private legal activities in the Fiji Island. President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that service of the Sri Lankan legal experts should be obtained in more efficient manner and pledged necessary support and advice to streamline legal activities in the Fiji island.

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Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella.

Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing held in Colombo a short while ago (16), he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism.

India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister.

The Minister mentioned this commenting on the very recent reports on LTTE attempts to take the lives of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and TamilNadu Chief Minister M Karunanidi. These details were revealed by the intelligence units of the country.

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella.

Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing held in Colombo a short while ago (16), he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism.

India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister.

The Minister mentioned this commenting on the very recent reports on LTTE attempts to take the lives of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and TamilNadu Chief Minister M Karunanidi. These details were revealed by the intelligence units of the country.

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Spanish-Thai forgery probe reveals new links to LTTE

Spanish and Thai police investigating a gang that supplied forged passports to al-Qaeda linked groups have found new evidence of links to Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, Spanish authorities said today.

Spanish and Thai police are analysing material seized late on Tuesday in a joint operation in which 10 people -eight Pakistanis, a Nigerian and a Thai national – were arrested in the two countries, Spain’s interior ministry said in a statement.

The 10 are suspected of providing forged passports to organisations linked to Al-Qaeda, including the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of plotting the attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people in November 2008, as well as to the Tamil Tigers.

Police seized forged passports, immigration documents, faked rubber stamps, computers, mobile phones, passport photos, British driving licences and sophisticated counterfeiting equipment in the swoop named Operation Kampai.

Spanish police experts “have travelled to Thailand and are working with Thailand’s department of special investigations to analyse the numerous documents seized from the cell,” the interior ministry said Friday.

“An initial examination of photographs seized has turned up evidence of the membership of some members of the terrorist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”

The LTTE “has perpetrated bloody attacks, many of them by suicides, such as that which killed the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

“Many of its members were based in Western countries, where they obtained financial assistance for the organisation through extortion and drug trafficking,” it said.

The LTTE fought a violent 37-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka before being crushed by government forces last year.

Thai police said yesterday that the three arrested in Thailand – two Pakistani men and a Thai woman – were part of criminal networks tied to “many terrorist attacks”.

These included the 2004 Madrid bombings, when blasts on packed commuter trains in a city suburb killed 191 people and wounded 1,841 others. However, Spanish authorities have not confirmed any such link to those arrested.

Spanish police detained seven suspects – six Pakistanis and a Nigerian – in the northeastern city of Barcelona during the operation.

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Foreign Affairs

Desi Journalist Abused, Thrown Out of pro-Eelam Meeting in NJ

A veteran Indian-American journalist was forcibly thrown out of a pro-Eelam meeting organized by Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA and Ilankai Tamil Sangam when he went to cover the event at Rasoi restaurant in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey on Saturday noon.

Dr Prakash M Swamy, a senior journalist of New York and a United Nations accredited correspondent, was manhandled and pushed out of the venue after being invited to cover the event by the organizers. The organizers also abused him as “an agent of Government of India and Sri Lanka” while forcibly pushed him out of the door in the cold when he pleaded that he had come all the way from New York traveling over two hours to cover the event at their invitation.

According to Dr Swamy, Palani Sundaram, president of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (Fetna) was heard shouting and giving directions to the volunteers to throw him out saying that the writer could bring disrepute to the organizations with his “negative reporting.”

Dr. Swamy is a Tamil-speaking English journalist who specializes in South Asian affairs and has written several articles and scoops on the formation of Trans-national Government of Tamil Eeelam (TGTE) headquartered in New York and led by attorney Visuvanathan Ruthrakumaran in the Indian media especially for popular Tamil magazines such as Junior Vikatan.

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka Gains from Indo-Chinese Supremacy Battle

As India and China jostle for influence in the Indian Ocean region, the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be getting unintended economic benefits.
China has pledged more financial assistance as Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Shanghai Expo exhibition earlier this month.

China is already the biggest lender for the Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene says that China has, so far, pledged more than $3bn (£1.9bn) for infrastructure development, maintenance and other projects.

“China has been investing in Sri Lanka when many other countries were reluctant to invest during the war,” he tells BBC Sinhala service.

China has finished the first phase of the major sea port of Hambantota on the southern Sri Lankan coast – Mr Rajapaksa’s hometown – and is funding a new airport in the south. Chinese firms are also rebuilding roads in the north.

Many other projects are already in the pipeline, including handling a Special Economic Zone, a 900 megawatt coal-fired power plant and the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, the road connecting the capital with the island’s only international airport.

China is also funding port projects in Chitagong in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and Burma.