Now, MoD asks UNP to name  bribe takers, giver

* Krrish Towers deal

... promises high level probe if  a complaint is made to police

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Defence and Urban Development Ministry yesterday challenged the UNP to reveal the identity of the official whose life was allegedly under threat for ‘accepting USD 4 million, on behalf of two powerful persons in the government, as an inducement to grant a further extension of time to Krrish Towers to complete the payment on the Fort land lease agreement’.

In response to our lead news item, Man who took USD 4 m for two government bigwigs threatned - UNP, based on an allegation UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake made at a press conference, the MoD said that the UNP must name the alleged bribe taker as well as those described as government bigwigs. It said it would certainly conduct a high level probe as demanded by the UNP if MP Karunayake or any other senior party member made a formal complaint with the police with names named.

The Defence Ministry said that the Opposition could expose those involved in the alleged mega deal before lodging a complaint with police headquarters as well as the Commission to Investigate Allegations of bribery or Corruptions.

Those involved in any clandestine transactions relating to the Krrish project, if any, would be dealt with severely, the official said, urging the UNP to act responsibly by naming the person who took the bribe and the so-called government bigwigs behind him.

The Defence Ministry said that the UNP could also identify those gunning for the person who had allegedly accepted USD 4 million on behalf of two powerful government personalities.

Karunanayake, on Wednesday, said that ‘the official concerned was trembling in fear and had complained to the authorities and the President that his life was under threat, after revealing the circumstances which had led to the money being accepted’.

Krrish Towers had been given a fourth extension on Monday to fully pay up on the Fort land lease agreement, MP Karunanayake said, adding that such concessions were not given to local investors.

Responding to Karunanayake’s allegations, the Gurgaon-based Krrish Group yesterday said that its transactions with the Sri Lankan government had been above board.

Krrish Group owner Amit Katyal said that the project had been finalised on the basis that there would be a staggered payment plan for land as the company had other commitments regarding several ongoing property development projects amounting to billions of US dollars.

Alleging that the ongoing attempt to undermine the project would discourage not only Krrish Group but those interested in investing in Sri Lanka, Katyal said that the company had so far paid Rs. 4, 250 million to the government in accordance with the payment plan. The total amount paid so far amounted to 85 per cent, Katyal said, reiterating his commitment to the ongoing project.

The Defence and Urban Development Ministry also said that the UNP could expose those who had paid USD 4 million to a third party hence the Bribery Commission could initiate an investigation. The matter could be also raised in Parliament and reported to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to pave the way for the parliamentary watchdog to investigate.

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