National List MP lost his seat "by mistake’’

Former ITAK MP M.K. Eelaventhan yesterday said that the ongoing CID investigation would prove he lost his National List seat as a result of an over-three month long absence from parliament due to no fault of his own.

The CID recorded Eelaventhan’s statement at his Madiwela residence last Thursday.

He was removed from Parliament on November 21, 2007 for being continuously absent from sittings for a three month period without a formal resolution granting leave. The ITAK filled his vacancy with Razeen Mohammed Imam on January 18.

In an interview with The Sunday Island, the ex-MP said that the CID should interview Secretary General of Parliament Mrs. Priyani Wijesekera, Batticaloa District MP T. Kanagasabai and the parliamentary official who may have unwittingly misled Kangasabai when he (the Batticaloa District MP) on Eelaventhan’s behalf applied for leave.

Eelaventhan told the CID that the official assured Kanagasabai that there was no need for the National List MP to seek leave as he had been present in Parliament on October 10, 2007. The CID was told that the official had marked Eelaventhan present while marking M.K. Sivajiilingam, (Jaffna District) MP absent.

Eelaventhan acknowledged that this was most probably due to his initials and that of Sivajiilingam both being M.K. "People make mistakes. But why should I suffer for another’s blunder. That wouldn’t be fair," he said, expressing the belief that the CID investigation would clear him.

According to him, the file would go to the Attorney General. This was an unprecedented case, he said, asserting that his party would have no option but to reinstate him. But he acknowledged that would be a knotty problem as already his vacancy had been filled.

He said that Mrs. Wijesekera told him that the fault was theirs (read as parliamentary official) and that the ITAK could re-appoint him.

He said that the ITAK was in a mighty hurry to fill his vacancy. According to him, his vacancy was filled with weeks while the National List vacancy caused by the assassination of Joseph Pararajasingham, assassinated on December 25 2005, was filled only on September 11, 2006.

For almost a year the party kept that vacancy open but in this case they acted swiftly. "Draw your own conclusions," he said.

He said that the majority of the 22-member parliamentary group wanted him reinstated but three colleagues opted to end his parliamentary career.

"They should be ashamed for what they did to me,’’ he said. ``Knowing what had happened, they decided to remove me."

They claimed that the wanted to bring in a Muslim to emphasize unity between the two communities, he said. But then they could have easily filled Pararajasingham’s vacancy with a Muslim.

"Or may be the need to improve relations with Muslims came up recently and there too they saw an opportunity to get rid of me," he said complaining that the Tamil press didn’t take up his issue.



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