The Abortive 3rd Coup
Posted on February 25th, 2015

Courtesy Island

Around 2.00 am on Jan. 09 I received a telephone call from a close relative of mine. He wanted to know why there had been a delay in the release of the presidential election results. He said he had seen the announcement of results had been suspended on a TV channel until further notice. He also said that he had seen some STF personnel going into the Counting Centre of D.S. Senanayake College and that there was confusion all round. He said that A Plan had been hatched a few days before the Presidential Election by the Presidential Secretariat to subvert the announcing of the election results in the event of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat. He told me that the plan was to seize power and postpone the announcement of the election results by the Election Commissioner, on the basis that there had been violence in the country.

I was angry with the caller and as, by that time, all information, official and unofficial, was that Maithripala Sirisena was winning the elections. I told him that the election results would be announced and he had to wait. But then, thereafter, I received a call from the present Sri Lankan Ambassador to South Africa, Sarath Kongahage, who said the official website of the Election Commissioner had been tampered with and that no one could log onto it. Then, I felt a little suspicious about my relation’s call and immediately called A. J. M. Muzammil, the Mayor of Colombo. Muzammil said that he, too, had received such information and in order to check the veracity of the information, he had received, he proceeded to D. S. Senanayake College. He stated that everything was smooth and normal there and that there was no official order from the Commissioner of Elections to postpone the announcement of Election results. When the election results were announced Mahinda Rajapaksa had been defeated.

A few days later, almost everyone, who had some interest in politics, was talking about the alleged coup attempt by the Rajapaksa government. They were very curious and gave various interpretations to the following facts. Why did the President summon the three Service Commanders and the IGP to Temple the Trees? What was Mohan Peiris, the Chief Justice, doing at Temple Trees when the election results were being announced? Why did the President summon the Attorney General to Temple Trees? The rumour mill began churning out stories which boiled down to the claim that President Rajapaksa had planned to disregard the people’s verdict and run the country under a semi-military dictatorship.

At the same time, various social media websites published various stories about the alleged coup attempt. One may dismiss as false what is published on the websites as Sri Lankan Law on Civil Defamation has no jurisdiction over those sites operated from Europe or other parts of the world, but what was carried in a local tabloid newspaper shocked me, as it gave a detailed and a vivid description of the entire plan of the government to stay in power, irrespective of the decision of the people to oust Rajapaksa. The long article gave names of various Army Officers, high ranking and low ranking officers, to whom specific instructions had been given to take out troops and surround strategic locations. It was almost impossible for anyone, even the best fiction writer to hatch such a plot with so much insider information. So I presumed that what my relation told me was the initial stages of the alleged coup attempt.

Then came Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement that when he went to Temple Trees around 3.00 am he had seen the Chief Justice Mohan Pieris in the company of the President. When the Prime Minister asked him what he was doing there he had said that he had come to give some legal advice to the President. The Prime Minister said he had then reminded him that as the Chief Justice of this country and it was not his duty to give legal advice to the President and that would be done by the Attorney General who was already there.

The media social websites and the politicians immediately created four heroes—Attorney General Yuvanjan Wijayatilleke, Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, IGP N.K. Illangakoon and Army Commander Daya Ratnayake. The story doing the rounds in the elitist circles was that President Rajapaksa was in the new wing of Temple Trees and initial information received by them was very encouraging. President Rajapaksa is supposed to have instructed his supporters to get the PSOs or other officers loyal to him to look at the way people voted. They had been asked to follow the movement of voters’ hands in the polling booth and guess whom they voted for—Mahinda or Maithripala! The PSOs and other officers reported back that only one out of ten people voted for the Opposition candidate and everyone at Temple Trees, including the Rajapaksa brothers were jubilant. There were people to inform Temple Trees of the postal vote results before they were released to the public. Everyone knew from the past experience that postal vote results indicated the public mood.

Gradually, it dawned on the Rajapaksas that the President was losing. The shocking news came from Nuwara Eliya believed to be Thondaman’s bastion; the government had lost with such a huge majority. Basil Rajapaksa said there was no way such a huge majority could be set off with majorities for the President elsewhere.

Then a dejected President with others moved out of the new wing and went to the other part of Temple Trees. It was clear that the President was heading for a defeat. Then he decided to put Plan B hatched one month prior to the election into action so that he could stay in power. Troops were moved out and placed in strategic locations. Immediately, the Elections Commissioner was told not to issue election results until further notice. The initial delay in relaying the election results was due to this. Uniformed officers were sent to the Election Commissioner who shouted at them and threw them out of the office, refusing to carry out illegal orders. Then his official website was jammed and the Commissioner got it fixed. In the meantime, the President instructed and informed the Service Commanders and the IGP that Emergency should be declared and the announcement of the election results must be put on hold. The IGP quickly refused to do any such thing as he decided the situation was normal in the country and there was no need for declaring a curfew. But, the consensus was that they should obtain advice from the Attorney General.

When the Attorney General was contacted, he informed the Solicitor General Bimba Thilekeratne and she had consulted another expert on Emergency Laws in the Department, and they were of the view that there was no reason to either declare a state of emergency or impose a curfew. At that time, the Chief Justice, who had been at Temple Trees, had told the AG that it was the President who was issuing those orders and others had to obey them. But, the AG steadfastly refused to change the stand taken by his colleagues. The Army Commander then said that he was not in a position to carry out an order which the Attorney General deemed illegal.

Thereafter, Ranil Wickremasinghe was woken up and informed of the serious situation that was developing and he tried to contact the President, but was unable to do so. He then went to the President’s Office with Thiru Nadesan, Nirupama Rajapaksa’s husband. Presient Rajapaksa had to accept the reality and leave Temple Trees even before dawn.

This is the story which has been related over and over again in the elitist Colombo circles. I strove to find out who the author was and whether he was present when this happened at Temple Trees. They were reluctant to give the name other than to say that he was a lawyer.

 

Abortive 3rd coup without a case – II

So, the government and the media went to town about the conspiracy by the Rajapaksas to retain state power by staging a virtual coup. In the meantime, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, on its own motion, took a serious view of the fact that Chief Justice Mohan Peiris was present at Temple Trees, in the wee hours of the morning, when the whole country was waiting for the Jan. 08 presidential elections results to be announced. They wrote to Mohan Peiris requesting him to resign from his post due to his improper conduct and quoted what Ranil Wickremesinghe said in public. The Judicial Services Association also requested their boss to explain to them why he had been present at the official residence of the President while the election results were being announced.

There were stories that the Chief Justice would resign. The majority members of the Bar were expecting him to resign but when the resignation did not come, it was the view of some members of the Executive Committee that it would be far safer for him to resign than to be the first Chief Justice in Asia to be arrested over a coup attempt. When Mohan Pieris, through a media spokesman made a statement to the media that he had no intention of resigning and he would continue to be in office as the 44th Chief Justice some office bearers of the Bar Association promptly proclaimed that Pieris would be arrested as a suspect for taking part in a coup.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa swiftly responded to the allegations saying that it was the first time in the history a government had sought the Attorney General’s opinion before trying to stage a coup.

The only thing lacking was a complaint to put the wheels of criminal justice in motion. So, with the available information, one of the most powerful Ministers of the present Cabinet, Mangala Samaraweera made a statement to the IGP and it was forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Department for investigation.

The election results clearly show the tremendous frustration, resentment and the fear the public had towards the Rajapaksa regime. Ven. Athureliya Rathana and Champika Ranawaka became heroes. The Rajapaksa government did not respond to the corruption charges. It was like an ex-pane trial. The plaintiff was absent and not properly represented. Everything said by the defendant, even truths, half-truths, lies admissible and inadmissible, evidence full of hearsay and conjecture went down well with the people as the Gospel truth.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated. The people never had any compassion towards their former rulers. They expected them to be behind bars. For, they waited for almost a decade for justice and fair play, for the Rule of Law, for the Judges to shed their cloak of subservience and to serve the people whose power is exercised by them.

A few days passed after Minister Samaraweera’s complaint. No arrests were made. Mohan Peiris was functioning as if nothing had happened. The police went from witness to witness, who had been present at the time when the alleged conspiracy took place. They recorded statement from Udaya Gammanpila and many others who vehemently denied any knowledge of conspiracy. For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, the police recorded a statement from the Attorney General and the Chief Justice. Mohan Peiris is supposed to have said that he had been awakened by his wife when the results were streaming in and found that the President was losing. He had gone to the Temple Trees to empathize with him and bid him farewell but, as there was a large crowd and therefore he could not even have the occasion to meet him, he came back. But, the Attorney General has supposed to have stated that when he met the President after being summoned the Chief Justice had been there. Neither the Election Commissioner nor the Inspector General of Police had in any way subscribed to the views that had been aired by various websites including some local and foreign media.

In fact, any independent investigator or a prosecutor would not find an iota of evidence to connect the former President, or the former Secretary of Defence to one of the most serious criminal offences known in the Law books, ‘Offences against the State’. Section 114 of the Penal Code says ‘whoever wages war against the Queen, or attempts to wage such war or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with death”. Section 115 discusses the conspiracy to wage such war. This is also punishable with death!

It must be said that when F.C. de Saram and others staged a coup to overthrow the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, it was the young, brilliant legal luminary Felix Dias, who personally handled the investigations. When the statements were recorded he was personally present and gave directions to the CID to the manner in which statements ought to be recorded. If not for the Privy Council, everyone would have been jailed for life.

The government and websites supportive of it did enormous damage to its credibility. It would have been far better if the government had independently examined or, spoken to independent government servants, like the Election Commissioner, the IGP, the Army Commander other Service Commanders before venturing to make a complaint of this nature. The people are so frustrated that they began to suspect various allegations leveled against powerful members of the Rajapaksa family, which they felt, unless fresh evidence was recorded, would have the same fate as the third coup case, which would end up without even a report being filed in Court.

Unless the investigators find fresh evidence, the Attorney-General, who is now free from political interference, will close the file without any charges filed against anyone, especially the former President. Many who supported ‘Yahapalanaya’ will be displeased.

13 Responses to “The Abortive 3rd Coup”

  1. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Island news paper editor, Ranil’s Kappan Karaya, trying to de focus from Election Commissioner, the traitor Mahinda Deshapriyer, JVP criminal. What he did was to stuff the ballot boxes. Every one agrees with me. Next is to find out who is this disgraceful punk Muddukuwa, known as Belekkaya at Peradeniya university? Who is his brother SUNANDA? Where does he live and what work he does for a living? Island Clown, Sri Lankans are getting used to Dis information well. What happened to the former President of Maldives? Cops beat him and broke his arm. A verse could have happened to MR if not for this supporters who surrounded his house in Thangalle. This Election Punks private army went to get him but the crowed was too big and too many people would have been killed. The owner of the private army was there but he did not want to risk his life so they packed up and went a away.

  2. ranjit Says:

    As you know all UNPer’s in this Govt were traitors and thieves from their past records. Sirisena wouldn’t have won the election if not for the coup orchestrated by the Americans and the west. Deshapriya was their agent and the coup plotters were Champaka,Rathanaya,Rajithaya,Awamanagalaya and MY3 who back stab Mahinda and came back to take over the Podu Apekshakaya role. This is the truth which people knows very well. Why nobody investigate the tape conversation by Rajitha about the coup,Why no investigation of Champaka for altering Lestor James photo,Why no investigation for the money found in Ratmalana? We need to ask these questions.We cannot just sit and watch while these thugs harass innocent people and accusing them on false corruption charges.

    In this country maybe 90% of our citizens may have altered their Passports,ID cards,etc on various occasions to get the job done specially Tamils & Muslims to go abroad,to get jobs,to put children to school etc. Tamils &

  3. Sirih Says:

    This is what we called “PSYOPS” … there is a meticulous plan here.. Would be interesting to see who this guy is..

  4. ranjit Says:

    As you know all UNPer’s in this Govt were traitors and thieves from their past records. Sirisena wouldn’t have won the election if not for the coup orchestrated by the Americans and the west. Deshapriya was their agent and the coup plotters were Champaka,Rathanaya,Rajithaya,Awamanagalaya and MY3 who back stab Mahinda and came back to take over the Podu Apekshakaya role. This is the truth which people knows very well. Why nobody investigate the tape conversation by Rajitha about the coup,Why no investigation of Champaka for altering Lestor James photo,Why no investigation for the money found in Ratmalana? We need to ask these questions.We cannot just sit and watch while these thugs harass innocent people and accusing them on false corruption charges.

    In this country many people may have altered their Passports,ID cards,etc on various occasions to get the job done specially Tamils & Muslims to go abroad,to get jobs,to put children to school etc. Tamils & Muslims were master crooks on this subject,altering paper work,making duplicate passports,ID’s etc. This Jarapalanaya Govt.saw only Weerawansa out of millions whom they say altered some documents. People are fed up of this shameless game of cat & mouse catching and harassing innocent people because they work for the opposite side. Don’t worry Ranil your days are numbered just find a place to hide now itself.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Obviously there was NO coup.

    This is a UriNePee lie.

  6. Raj Says:

    For the first time Lorence is right. This is a guy who cannot be trusted.

  7. douglas Says:

    The story of this “COUP” is a matter for the authorities to investigate or discard it. But there is one fact that the people of this country must be worried about. That is the “presence” of the then Chief Justice No 44, Mr. Mohan Peris at that hour of the day in the company of the President. When he was asked by the Leader of the Opposition as to why he was there, he promptly said (as reported) “I am here to advise the President”. The question here is: Is that a function of the Chief Justice of the Country to visit the residence of the President and give “Advice”? Although the Leader of the Opposition met him there and questioned him, another witness who is now “spearheading” the return of Mr. MR gave a statement and said: “I did not remember of his (CJ”S) presence”. That is a “syndrome” spreading fast among politicians in this country.

    His (CJ”S) behaviour again became questionable, when he started “bargaining” his resignation with a promise of an overseas posting to Geneva. He sent his wife with two doctors to “negotiate” this “deal” to the residence of the present Prime Minister, Mr. Ranil wickramasinghe who stated this to the media at a later date. This Prime Minister also negotiated and offered him a posting to Brazil. Just see how these people in “Authority” (both CJ and PM) were handling the Governmental Affairs. Are these the types of “Leaders” and “Custodians” of Justice we have? What will happen to this country is anybody’s guess. Who can save us from this calamitous state?

  8. Independent Says:

    Raj,
    Please shut up. Let people to express their view, whether he cannot be trusted or not.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    We know of truly worse Supreme Crt Justices in the salubrious west !

    douglas,
    Frankly, I see no great offense in the former President consulting with the CJ after the elections. I guess it is all in the eyes of the beholder – that MR was a Pre and Post WAR President and had more negative baggage to carry than most who led Lanka earlier.

    ——–
    Where’s the gratitude to the former President for putting out his neck to save the country from the LTTE ? How easy to criticize ! None of critiques came out of their holes when the LTE was running amok.

  10. Vis8 Says:

    This Island ‘editor’ has swallowed all the baloney Ranil’s “Colombo crowd” is hallucinating, these days. LMAO.

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    One day, UriNePee GESTAPO dogs will come after My3, his brothers, sisters, son, daughters, wife, etc. Mark my word.

    Run-nil and UriNePee stay with My3 only until the next election. After that you will see their TRUE COLORS. My3 is their TOP target.

    How did Run-nil become PM in 1993? His beloved LTTE killed Premathasan.
    How did Run-nil become OPPOSITION LEADER in 1994? His beloved LTTE killed Gamini D.
    How did Run-nil plan to become PRESIDENT in 1999? His beloved LTTE almost killed CBK.
    How does Run-nil plans to become PRESIDENT in 2016? His beloved LTTE will kill My3 and put the blame on MR!!!

    Mark my word.

  12. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Lorenzo, Last line is correct but I will add my part, Yes the go head was given by OBAMA and the method to blame MR is now finalized. Then get a MOB to attack and finish MR and few family members. OBAMA the RULER of SRI LANKA. (OBAMA is NOT AN AMERICAN).

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    So protect MS. That’s the right thing to do by all. We do not want anyone killed. We do not want Riots either. Btw,
    America already has pro-west Australia. Why should Pres O become the ruler of Lanka ? Some folk like Lankans to fall out with Pres O !!! They want the west to like Tamils only ??

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