All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and Industry and Commerce Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen said were attempts to accuse him falsely regarding his recent visit to Oman and incidents that took place recently, but that he was prepared to face them and prove his innocence.
In a statement issued to the media he said, “Various people made allegations against me saying I ran away from Sri Lanka when I went recently for official work. Some people and media made these allegations.
They made the allegations without checking the facts about this tour. With some other Ministers in Oman, we discussed about multi-billion rupee projects for Sri Lanka with Omani government officials. After I returned from Oman, they stopped the allegations. They also aimed other allegations at me and these allegation were so dangerous and insulting I had questioned certain media institutions as to why they are identifying myself with terrorists.
These allegations too are similar to the allegation that I ran away from Sri Lanka. These allegations had no basis nor were they supported by facts. They alleged that one of my Secretaries was arrested with detonators and released. The arrested person is not a secretary of mine. He was a candidate at the last Pradeshiya Sabha election. He got elected. Even though he was arrested on suspicion, at the court hearing it became clear that he was not guilty, and he was released.
It was also speculated that a brother of mine was arrested and released. Both security forces and the Police conducted search operations in Mannar recently. My brother, at that time, was staying in a tourist bungalow in that area. This bungalow was also searched and my brother was questioned, vehicles were searched. These were the only events that took place. Anyone can talk to Mannar Police and find out what happened.
Another accusation against me is that a house belonging to my sister was rented out to terrorists. My sister and her husband have been living in Canada for the past five years. Her husband’s house was given to a caretaker. This caretaker advertised it on a website to rent it out after the previous tenants vacated the house in February.
The house was then rented out for a year. I had no personal knowledge of any of these developments. Please try to think whether it is even reasonable to accuse me on this. The allegation that Ibrahim, father of the bombers, had business dealings with my brother too is totally false and unfounded. Ibrahim and Colombo Traders Association of which he is the Chairman officially met me and my officials several times with CTA members to discuss their issues. My brother has no business dealings with Ibrahim’s businesses. There was another grave accusation saying that I had provided certain raw material to terrorists. The IDB under my Ministry releases different raw materials to small and medium scale industries at different times. The IDB also assists in marketing and technology transfer to them.
Since 2005, through a newspaper advertisement, IDB registers companies asking for raw material. Each applying company is issued with raw material based on their need. Some 300 companies were registered by IDB this year. The raw material for these companies were issued following proper procedures and legally.
Even though certain individuals asked us to give special preferences to their Wellampitiya factory, we did not extend such preferences, and did not act I violation of law. As a result, we appointed an independent committee headed by our Ministry Secretary and obtained their report as well. The report has been handed over to the President and the Prime Minister. If there is any violation, then action will be taken based on this report. Some people who make accusations on the discovery of explosives and arms from Wilpattu jungles, falsely announce that this location is under my electorate. Vanathavilluva, where these were found, is not within my electorate. This is another attempt to accuse me falsely.
The father of a bomber’s wife is a member of our Party’s Executive Committee. Is that a justifiable reason to accuse me? Ibrahim, the father of a suicide bomber is a National List MP of JVP. Is that a justifiable reason to accuse the JVP of terrorism? Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka showed how a person who cooked for him for five years became his suicide bomber and tried to assassinate him and could not. President Premadasa too was assassinated by Babu, who was frequenting Sucharitha. Can these facts be used to say that either Field Marshal Fonseka or late President Premadasa were terrorists? Accusations are levelled at my businesses and income sources. SB Dissanayake holding a news conferences lies in this regard. Since I did not accept his invitations during the 52-day coup, taking revenge from me in this way is playing cheap politics.
However, I want to stress that I have given my assets and liabilities statements since the day I entered politics. Anyone can inspect these statements. I am also ready face any investigation. Also I have made arrangements to take legal action against people and media institutions who make false accusations against me. They will be compelled to prove their allegations in front of law. I am ready to prove that I am correct. The people who make allegations against me knowingly or unknowingly safeguard the real terrorists and fundamentalists. Their actions result in myself being highlighted while the attention on the real terrorists shifts. We are strong believers of Islam. Allah does not approve terrorism nor fundamentalism. I am not connected to terrorists nor support it. I myself am against terrorism.
I was a victim of terrorism. I am not connected to fundamentalism nor support it and against it. I am profoundly shocked of the loss of lives due to this terrorism and fundamentalism. I express my condolences to the next of kin of those who died. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. I bow my head with gratitude to all who are committed to peace and reconciliation at this difficult moment.
I especially express my honor to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. I also express my gratitude to the Venerable Mahanayaka Theras, Ven Hindu clergy and Moulavis. We also thank the security forces, police, civil society leaders and all village leaders for their prompt action to preserve peace.This is our country. We live as children of one mother. Our responsibility is to develop, safeguard and build our country. Let us discerningly commit ourselves to it,”