Nagananda, Sugandika duo accused of playing politics


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Convenor of ‘Soldiers for Motherland’ retired Maj. Ajith Prasanna, yesterday, accused attorneys-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku and Sugandika Fernando of trying to undermine former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s presidential bid.

Prasanna, formerly of the Sinha Regiment, said that Kodituwakku and Fernando were backing a project to deny Rajapaksa the opportunity to contest 2020 presidential polls.

The former UPFA Southern Provincial Council member Prasanna was addressing the media at the Center for Society and Religion (CSR). Attorney-at-law Yalith Wijesundera, too, backed Prasanna’s attack on Kodituwakku and Fernando. The media was told the duo was working overtime to facilitate forthcoming campaign of the common candidate.

Referring to recent accusations directed at the judiciary, particularly President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka U. R. de Silva PC, Prasanna alleged that Fernando was engaged in a despicable campaign to tarnish the image of the lawyers. Asserting that Fernando had publicly discussed some personal experience and made some unsubstantiated allegations against judges, lawyers and court officials, Prasanna said that they were challenging the credibility of the local judiciary.

Referring to Kodituwakku’s British citizenship, Prasanna said that the possibility of the lawyer facilitating US-UK run project to set up hybrid war crimes court here in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1 could not be ruled out. Prasanna alleged that Kodituwakku had been strangely silent on Western efforts to haul wartime Sri Lanka political and military leaderships as well as those who conducted actual operations before hybrid court.

Prasanna urged the media to focus on Kodituwakku’s agenda, which he said was severely inimical to the national interest.

The lawyer alleged that Fernando was cleverly using the media to paint a bleak picture of the judiciary and law enforcement authorities.

Commenting on the proposed Special High Court to hear what was considered high profile corruption cases, Prasanna said that Kodituwakku had brazenly attacked top lawyers who had moved Supreme Court against the controversial Judicature Bill on behalf various parties. Kodituwakku found fault with President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva for representing BASL as he was former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s counsel, Prasanna said.

Prasanna alleged that the highest in the judiciary had been influenced by the government. When The Island pointed out that Prasanna, having faulted Fernando for taking on the system for unscrupulous reasons also at the expense of national interest, was now accusing the highest in the judiciary, the attorney-at-law rejected that charge.

Prasanna likened the campaign undertaken by Kodituwakku to that of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who sought to tarnish the image of all other politicians. Prasanna alleged that the likes of Kodituwakku and Fernando would work overtime to deny Gotabhaya Rajapaksa chance to contest presidential polls.

Referring to allegations directed at the former Gajaba Regiment combat officer in respect of a spate of cases, including the controversial acquisition of MiGs for the Sri Lanka Air Force at the onset of the eelam war IV, provision of maritime security services to international shipping through the Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS), construction of Rajapaksa monument and memorial at Weeraketiya, January 2009 killing of The Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, May 2008 abduction and assault on The Nation Associate Editor Keith Noyahr, attack in January 2009 on the then Rivira editor Upali Tennakoon, Prasanna alleged that Kodituwakku and Fernando were going after the former Defence Secretary.

Prasanna said that Fernando, at the conclusion of a recent speech, had said that she and Kodituwakku were inquiring into cases involving Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa. Prasanna blamed war winning Army Chief the then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka for some of the above mentioned incidents.

Prasanna regretted that the government was engaged in a witch hunt. Alleging that the government was making an attempt to somehow frame Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Prasanna said that some of those in the Joint Opposition/Sri Lanka Podujana Perumana would take advantage of the situation to deprive Rajapaksa of the candidature.

Kodituwakku was likely to contest 2020 presidential poll in a bid to divide the Sinhala Buddhist vote to make it difficult for the former Defence Secretary, Prasanna alleged.

Responding to another query raised by The Island, Prasanna admitted that the previous government had failed in its duty to inquire into the high profile incidents at issue.

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