Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Jaffna District Parlimentarian MA Sumanthiran escaped unhurt when the vehicle in which he was travelling in met with a hydroplaning accident at 3.45 am on the Colombo – Katunayake Expressway on April 30.
The vehicle had gone out of control after skidding on the wet surface of the highway. It had spun s thrice before crashing against the safety barrier protective railings along the road..
Although the vehicle as well as the safety railings were extensively damage, Sumanthi along with his driver and Police security officer were not injured.
The Jaffna district MP who is also a Presidents Counsel was on his way to Kalmunai where he was to appear in the morning at the Kalmunai Magistrates courts in a case concerning the Pottuvil to Poligandy (P2P) protest march. 14 persons including TNA MP’s Shanakkiyan Rasamanickam, G. Karunakaram and T. Kalaiarasan and ex- TNA MP’s Ariyanendran, Yogeswaran and Sreenesan had been charged by the Police for alleged contempt of court for participating in the P2P protest.
Earlier Sumanthiran had obtained a stay order from the Court of Appeal restraining the Police from proceeding further on the basis that the Magisrate’s courts had no jurisdiction over the matter. The lawyer-politician was going to Kalmunai to submit the Appeal court order to the Magistrates Courts when the road accident occurred.
Sumanthiran in the back seat of the vehicle had just ended an overseas call on the telephone when the car went off the road spinning thrice. He made arrangements to proceed to Kalmunai in another vehicle and waited until the Police arrived on the scene. Meanwhile another vehicle also skidded off the road within close proximity of Sumanthiran’s vehicle and damaged the safety barriers.
The Police refused to let the occupants of both vehicles to proceed until Highways ministry officials assessed the damage done to the safety barriers and estimated costs. They would come only after 9 AM said the Police and asked them to wait on the spot and pay the cost of estimated damages and proceed.
The TNA Jaffna MP identified himself and told Police he had to be in Kalmunai urgently for a court case. He said he would pay the estimated damages cost in due course after attending to the court case in Kalmunai. Upon knowing that Sumanthiran was an opposition MP belonging to the TNA, the Police became “rigidly inflexible” and refused to relent. The cops told Sumanthiran to contact an official in the Highways ministry over the issue and provided a telephone No but the Jffna MP’s efforts proved fruitless.
At this point a Tamil journalist who got to know of Sumanthiran’s predicament contacted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and informed the PM on what had happened. Upon hearing that Sumanthiran had met with an accident the Premier was upset but was relieved to know that the MP was safe and not injured.
The PM then contacted Highways minister Johnstone Fernando and instructed him to attend to the matter immediately and enable Sumanthiran to continue his journey to Kalmunai . The Prime Minister then told Sumanthiran that he need not wait and advised him to proceed to Kalmunai as planned/ Minister Johnstone Fernando promptly contacted Sumanthiran. He said the ministry would hold an inquiry into the incident and would let the MP know of how much he needed to pay if and when required.
Thereafter around 6.30 amthe Jaffna MP proceeded to Kalmunai after thanking both the Prime Minister and Highways Minister for their assistance in the matter. Despite the unnerving mishap the lawyer MP appeared at the Kalmunia courts on time. The case itself was brought to an end after the Court of Appeal ruling.