- The UK vs. Wijesinha
By Vimukthi Yapa
The British High Commission in Colombo last week told The Sunday Leader they had no idea what ‘note’ UPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha was talking about when he told the BBC Sinhala Sandeshaya Service that the former defence attaché at the BHC had handed him a typed note which stated that a gang working closely with the then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was guilty of carrying out killings and abductions.
Following a story published by the BBC Sandeshaya service last week on April 10, Second Secretary at the British High Commission in Colombo, Dominic William told The Sunday Leader, “We do not know what note he is talking about or referring to.”
Prof. Wijesinha meanwhile insisted to The Sunday Leader that indeed a typed note had been handed over to him containing “a serious allegation” against the then army commander Sarath Fonseka.
He said the note was given to him by Britain’s former defence attaché posted to Colombo at the time.
Col. Anton Gash was the last defence attaché at the BHC in Colombo. He left in mid 2009 and has not been replaced since.
Col. Gash left Sri Lanka at least six months before the presidential election and long before Sarath Fonseka had even announced his candidature to run for president.
But Prof. Wijesinha continued to insist to The Sunday Leader that, “many months back, I was given, at the British High Commission, a note suggesting Fonseka had squads engaged in illicit activities reporting to him.” Pressed for a date when he had been handed such a note Prof. Wijesinha said he could not remember nor could he produce the note. “I chucked it away somewhere and now cannot find it,” he told The Sunday Leader.
Quizzed on what action he took upon receiving such a note he replied, “None. At that stage it made no sense to look at what was an anonymous typewritten sheet, but the British seemed to take it seriously at the time. More recently however there is so much concern about Fonseka that anything implicating him would seem to be off limits as far as they are concerned. Nevertheless, we should investigate all such crimes assiduously,” he told The Sunday Leader.
Wijesinha insisted the BBC Sinhala Sandeshaya Service had misquoted him, “absolute rubbish” was how he termed it when asked by us if he had indeed told the BBC that the UK ‘linked’ Sarath Fonseka to the killing of the former Editor of this newspaper, Lasantha Wickrematunge.
According to the BBC Sinhala Service Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, a ruling party MP, told the news service that the defence attaché of the British High Commission (BHC) in Colombo “gave a note” that accused then Gen. Fonseka of being responsible for the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge. Wijesinha however admitted that his responses to the BBC were following the US State Department report released on April 9.