Mon, 24 Jan 2022 Today's Paper

Appointment of controversial engineer questioned

13 January 2022 07:39 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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There was a breakdown of the power supply in Welivita in the Kotte area on December 2

 

  • There was a breakdown of the power supply in Welivita in the Kotte area on December 2 at 11.30 pm and the connection was not restored until 6.00 a.m. the following day
  • There is speculation that the investigations against Abeysekara too will come to a close soon
  • CEB employees have raised concern as to why the Ministry of Power made him the GM by sending the present GM, M.R. Ranatunge on early retirement

 

Questions have been raised as to why the Ministry of Power has appointed a person linked to controversy- as he is allegedly accused to be involved in a power sabotage incident- as the General Manager of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) with effective from January 13, 2022. 

Additional Secretary Administration, Ministry of Power, D.P. Wickremasinghe by letter dated January 4, 2022, to Chairman CEB states, ‘I wish to inform you that the Hon. Minister Gamini Lokuge, has approved the appointment of Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekara, as the GM of CEB, as per the vide section 5(1) of the CEB Act No: 17 of 1969 with effect from January 13, 2022. You are kindly informed to take action accordingly’.  
Although such an appointment has been made by the Ministry of Power, the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has initiated an investigation against AGM (Corporate Strategy) Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekara against whom a complaint has been lodged for his involvement in an incident where the latter has obstructed the CEB employees in Welivita in the Kotte area from switching on the grid trip on December 2, 2021, for 6 ½ hours, leaving the entire area in total darkness.


 “There was a breakdown of the power supply in Welivita in the Kotte area on December 2 at 11.30 pm. Although the linesmen were able to rectify the fault in the distribution line within half an hour, AGM Eng. Abeysekara has allegedly obstructed the CEB employees’ attempt to restore power by midnight. Hence the electricity connection was not restored until 6 a.m. the following day- December 3. This was the time the CEB Engineers’ Union was staging a work-to-rule campaign while threatening to stay away attending to any power failure that occurs after 5 pm. Although the breakdown was rectified within half an hour, Abeysekara has repeatedly instructed the CEB employees not to switch on the grid trip,” a high-ranking CEB official told this newspaper.
Following this incident, Chief Engineer (Business and Operational Strategy) CEB, Pradeep Manage has lodged a complaint with the Slave Island Police on December 3, 2021, but has withdrawn the same the following day due to the threats he received from Abeysekara and other members of the Engineers’ Union as stated in Director CCD’s letter to the CEB.

 

"The CCD Director who was conducting this investigation has been transferred to another unit with immediate effect, believed to stop the investigation against Abeysekara, as he is known to the ‘Viyathmaga’ 
-Sources"


“We have records to show how an employee contacted Abeysekara over six times to obtain his permission to switch the grid trip on, which requests have been turned down. With all this credible evidence, in fear, Pradeep Manage has withdrawn the complaint he lodged on December 3. But the Director CCD, SSP P.J. Nandana by letter dated December 15, 2021 (Ref: No: D/CCD/10931/2021) to the CEB has informed that the CCD is bound to conduct the investigation despite the withdrawal of the complaint by the complainant, as it is a criminal offense,” sources said.
The Daily Mirror is in possession of a copy of the said CCD Director’s letter to the CEB.
Though Abeysekara’s involvement in the sabotage is now a known secret, CEB employees have raised concern as to why the Ministry of Power made him the GM by sending the present GM, M.R. Ranatunge on early retirement at the age of 60.


“Like how, court cases against powerful politicians have been withdrawn by certain Departments, the investigation against Abeysekara too will be closed soon. The CCD Director who was conducting this investigation has been transferred to another unit with immediate effect, believed to stop the investigation against Abeysekara, as he is known to the ‘Viyathmaga’,” sources claimed.
According to CEB sources, although by letter dated November 16, 2021, to Chairman CEB, Minister of Power Gamini Lokuge has approved to extend the present GM, M.R. Ranatunge’s tenure by one year, it was on the pressure mounted on him, he had to reverse the decision.

 

"I received the letter recommending Abeysekara to the post of GM on December 30. If there was such an incident, the CEB would have reversed the letter sent to me, but to date, they did not make any request to reverse the decision"
- Additional Secretary Administration, Ministry of Power, D.P. Wickremasinghe

 

Letter of appointment

“The Engineers Union has made representations to the President to remove Ranatunga and appoint Abeysekara as the GM. Because of the latter’s affiliation to the government, and the orders received from the top, Minister Lokuge had to revert his decision,” sources alleged.   
When contacted Additional Secretary Administration, Ministry of Power, D.P. Wickremasinghe, as to why Abeysekara was appointed as the GM with effect from January 13, when there is a serious allegation against him for disrupting CEB employees from restoring power supply for 6 ½ hours after a breakdown, Wickremasinghe said that he was unaware of such an allegation against Abeysekara.


“It was on the recommendation of the CEB Board of Directors and as per the powers vested on the subject minister from the Ceylon Electricity Board Act No: 17 of 1969, I was instructed to send the appointment letter. If there was such an allegation the CEB Board of Directors shouldn’t have recommended him. I received the letter recommending Abeysekara to the post of GM on December 30. If there was such an incident, the CEB would have reversed the letter sent to me, but to date, they did not make any request to reverse the decision,” Wickremasinghe said.
However, Eng. Abeysekara told this newspaper that he was not involved in any sabotage as stated by the complainant nor did he threaten to withdraw the complaint.

 

"It is the System Control Center that attends to power failure and I was not involved in the said incident. Restoring power is not within my purview and I came to know this incident long after this incident occurred,"
-Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekara


“It is the System Control Center that attends to power failure and I was not involved in the said incident. Restoring power is not within my purview and I came to know this incident long after this incident occurred,” Abeysekara said.
Asked whether he knew whether there was a complaint lodged against him, Abeysekara said that he came to know about it from the media.
When asked whether he lobbied to get the post of GM, CEB, Abeysekera said that he was not aware of his appointment until he saw the news in the papers.
“I am totally unaware of my appointment and as of today, I did not receive any appointment letter,” Abeysekara added.  

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