Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, son of the former president responded to the many allegations thrown against the Rajapaksa regime.
QIt’s a very bad time for you, isn’t it?
It is the nature of politics. Politicians do not have power for ever; it comes intermittently. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power there was not a trace of revenge on political opponents. But today even the children of opposition members are subjected to revenge. This happened whenever the UNP came into power. They even deprived Madam Sirimavo of her civic rights. But what is surprising is its continuance even under a consensus government.
QWhen you were in power did you imagine the situation you are facing today?
We have to come to terms with volatile situations if we are to remain in politics. But we never expected them to take revenge on us, my mother and brother as they too have families.
Q You have recently asked the government to stop their acts of revenge saying that there are children of the leaders of Yahapalanaya as well. Was it a warning?
It was not a warning or a threat but only an appeal.
Q Have the investigations into frauds and corruption become an issue?
We don’t have an issue regarding investigations. But the issue is how it is being done. Some politicians predict the imminent arrests of their political opponents without following any judicial procedure. How can the Cabinet spokesman predict the number of members of the Rajapaksa family who may be arrested on a particluar date? If there is a fair inquiry, could this happen?
Q Are you are accusing a person who was one of your father’s best friends a couple of months ago?
He may have been my father’s best friend, but we also know his political history. Even President Maithripala Sirisena is a very good friend of my father. This is politics.
Q People say that the Rajapaksas are facing the repercussions of what they have done.
If saving the country from Prabhakaran and ushering in a period of peace are acts deserving repercussions, I agree that you are right.
QWhat is happening to Yoshitha Rajapaksa?
We have submitted an application for bail to the High Court and are confident we will get justice. Investigation being carried out without a legal basis. Yoshitha’s arrest was arranged. My father too served a jail term in a similar manner.
Q Who is the owner of the CSN? Do you say Yoshitha Rajapaksa has no connection whatsoever with it?
The girl whom Yoshitha intended to marry worked at the CSN. Some of her friends too worked there. Because of this connection Yoshitha and we frequently visited the CSN. We helped them in their activities in the same way we helped others.
Q Doesn’t Yoshitha have any connection with the administration or financial activities of the CSN?
No; he doesn’t have any connection especially in financial matters. The owners are two individuals- Dr. A. R. Fernando and Kavishan Dissanayaka--who set up CSN on loans.
Q Your Tangalle house is called Carlton House.
QThe Montessori network organised by your mother is also called Carlton pre-shools.
Q But the Carlton Sports Network is not a part of Rajapaksa property?
When they asked if they could use the name Carlton we said we didn’t have any objection. We do not have patent rights over the name. I have seen kiosks under the same name.
Q What was Yoshitha’s former girl friend’s reaction?
We didn’t speak about this matter with her. The FCID has questioned her. She is now married and we don’t want to get her involved here. Everybody knows what happened.
QDo you think Yoshitha will be freed in this case?
Yes we are highly confident, because Yoshitha has not done anything against the law.
Q Some say you have qualified as a lawyer without following the formal procedure.
Those who sat for the law examination with me would know the truth. Some are critical about the educational progress of politicians’ children. And they criticise when their children pass examinations and when they fail they call them fools.
Q There is one person who has come forward to give details before any investigation as to how Namal sat for the law examinations.
I challenge him to do so. I would also like to debate on law matters with him.
Q Is the case against your mother’s Siriliya account a false one?
Siriliya is an organisation initiated with my mother playing a leading role to help poor people to meet medical needs. It has no connection with the government.Many individuals helped this organisation, but investigators questioned even those who got benefited by this service.
QSo how did the Siriliya account number get star symbols?
When my mother’s passport was sent to open the bank account, a bank officer entered a different number in place of her identity number with star symbols. That was done by the bank. We have no knowledge about it. We came to know about this only when the problem arose.
QMany ministers in the former government allege that Basil Rajapaksa is the main reason for the defeat of the former government?
There are two sides to this. When the election is won, the election campaign organiser is praised and blamed if it is lost. Basil Rajapaksa played a major role in this campaign. He is not a person who has close connections with people. That is his way. He worked efficiently. This may be the reason why some were not happy with him. I also have criticisms about him.
Q But they complained that Basil didn’t allow them to work;
Those who blame him on this matter are also in the present government. You can ask them whether they are working now.
QDo you have any disputes with Basil?
That is an old problem since 2005. We do not have any personal problems but do have problems in political matters. On some occasions I have criticised even my father.
QThere is a rumour that Yoshitha had attempted to shoot Basil. Is that true?
It’s absolutely false. That story was spread by a gossip group.
Q There was a rumour that Basil was not happy about your progress in politics. Is it true?
Why should he be unhappy? Our age difference is great: besides he once told that he would remain in politics only while Mahinda Rajapaksa stays in politics.
QWhy is Chamal Rajapaksa silent when the Rajapaksa family is confronted with problems after problems?
That is his character. He always remains non-committal in problematic situations.
QDid you have any competition with Sasheendra Rajapaksa in politics?
No; his politics is in Moneragala and my politics is in Hambanthota.
Q Your father’s friends in the past like SB today call him “Kalawedda” .
His words are unpleasant and aggressive. He had to go to jail because of his mouth. Finally my father restored his civic rights. He spoke about Chandrika Madam and Maithripala Sirisena in the same way.
QThere is much criticism about your “Tharunyata Hetak”
Where there is work there is criticism. It is an organisation to help youth in their activities
QWhat about Nil Balakaya?
That was formed as the youth organisation of the SLFP at the request of Maithripala Sirisena with the approval of the party’s central committee.
QAre there rowdies in this organisation?
No, but some call it an organisation of thugs.
QDid members of the Nil Balakaya assault a group of artistes in Kumbukgete?
No, that’s not true.
Q How do you hope to return to power? Is it through coconut dashing charms?
It is a custom of the people in the South. We have no opportunity to speak in Parliament so we present our problems to the gods.
Q Basil Rajapaksa has said if there was any act of revenge taken by the former government it was only against Sarath Fonseka.
What he might have intended to say was that it was the only incident. However it was not political revenge.
Q Those who benifitted by the Rajapaksas now do not allow him to live in peace even at home.
That is their right and independence.
Q When in power you closed the roads close to the Dalada Maligawa for motor races.
We had no connection with that motor race. We only helped the sport.
QWhat about the motor races in Colombo held under flood lights?
That was by Carlton Sports. Electricity was provided by generators.
QDid you punish rugger players who challenged your brother?
No, but today we can see punishment meted out to players.
Q Is Wasim Thajudeen a friend of yours?
Yes, he was a friend.
QWhat happened to him?
This government used his death for their election campaign.They exhumed his body during the election period and buried it again.
Q Did you attend Thajudeen’s funeral?
Yes, we did.
Q Some say you are to be arrested soon. Are you afraid?
No I am ready for any arrest.
QDo you think your father will come to power again?
Constitutionally he cannot be the president. But a government will be formed under his leadership.