Harin’s Web of Lies Come Undone
By Buddhisiri Dharmapriya
The speech delivered by MP Harin Fernando recently in Parliament was controversial to say the least. We are presently living in the third decade of the 21st century. In this day and age everything is open. Nobody is able to hide anything from anyone. If by any reason a person is attempting to hide something or shield someone then that should not be allowed. That would have to be revealed to the people by the media for what it is worth.
Former MP, Duminda Silva, being imprisoned after being convicted over the death of former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra is not a simple incident. Gunshots were fired. A case was heard. A death penalty was given and it cannot be described in these simple terms. The reason for that is it has now been revealed that during Duminda Silva’s trial there had clearly been a political intervention and the normal course of justice had failed to take its course.
The statement made by Fernando regarding this trial is one such incident. It is clear that the modus operandi of Fernando had been to further deceive the people here and ensure that justice should not be meted out to Duminda. However, it is said that the truth cannot be hidden forever it will come out one day. The verdict of the Bharatha Lakshman case is a black mark in the annals of this country’s Judiciary.
What really stunned the people was what was revealed in the Ranjan Ramanayake audio tapes drama concerning this particular trial. This trial was heard before a three-Judge Bench of the High Court. The head of the Bench was Judge Shiran Guneratne while the rest were Judges Padmini Ranawaka and Chamath Moraes. The verdict was issued on 8 September five years ago where Silva was convicted and sentenced to death.
Harin Fernando in his speech to Parliament on 6 January said, “Judge Padmini Ranawaka had only spoken to Ranjan Ramanayake after she had retired. Forgive me, only after the verdict had been given. Had Ranjan spoken to her before the delivery of the verdict then it could be deemed as an offence” What Fernando has done here is twisting of the facts intentionally. Before making his speech the MP also made a few other comments as well. Moreover, it shows his intentions. “During this period there is a trend towards granting presidential pardons. We also know as to why this trend has taken place.”
What Harin says is that if Padmini had talked to Ranjan before the delivery of the verdict then it would be wrong. We do not think that Harin had distorted the truth without knowing it. Let us place the truth before him for his benefit. The verdict in the case was delivered on 8 September 2016. However, the discussion between Ranawaka and Ramanayake takes place at 9:33 p.m. on 14 July 2016. In the audio tapes it could be heard that Ranjan saying that the entire country is waiting expectantly to hear the verdict of the case and that the target of them all is one person. Ranjan further says that it was a pleasure to see Ranawaka presiding over a Bench where a decision is to be taken on Duminda.
Ranjan-Padmini (Time 80 seconds) 14 July 2016 time 9:33 p.m.
Padmini – Hello
Ranjan – Madam, do not be irked with me for talking to you at this time.
Ranjan – I am Ranjan Ramanayake
Padmini – Yes. Mr. Ramanayake
Ranjan – Can I talk to you at this moment?
Padmini- Yes, no issue. Wait a moment, there is someone coming. Yes go ahead.
Ranjan – I am at home alone. I am talking to you with respect. The country is looking at the verdict and waiting for it. They think justice will be meted out. It is a pleasure to see you being a member of the Bench.
Padmini – Yes, yes.
Ranjan – We believe that something good will come out of it.
Padmini – Ok.
Ranjan – Wish you God’s speed.
Not only the Parliament of Sri Lanka but all Legislatures are considered as places where lies are not uttered. The MPs take care not to dupe the people. Hence we do not know whether Harin Fernando had strived to distort the truth to benefit the ulterior political motives of the SJB. The conversation between Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and then Director of the CID Shani Abeysekera takes place on the eve of the delivery of the verdict in the Silva trial.
Date 8 September 2016.
Ranjan – Good evening. Will any bad news come our way tomorrow?
Shani – Definitely there will be good news. Sir, aren’t you coming to Court.
Ranjan – Try not to take away our confidence and enthusiasm.
Shani – No that will not be the case, but, the middle one will write to free himself.
Ranjan – Who is this middle one?
Shani – It is the Chairman. Nevertheless, no issue we have two others.
Ranjan – Is Padmini Ok?
Shani – Yes.
Ranjan – Will it head to the SC?
Shani – In any case it will go there. You are coming aren’t you?
Ranjan – Will it be good my presence there. Will it show that we are behind it?
Shani – If you are coming for all corruption cases what is wrong in coming for this one.
Ranjan – Will it come to light about the call that I gave.
Shani – No it will not be like that. You must come. Why should you go backwards having given the front to Harin?
Ranjan – You are sure.
Shani – Yes. We will see after it is all done and dusted.
Ranjan – Can’t we get the middle one?
Shani – No need the majority is there.
Ranjan – Try not to disappoint us tomorrow morning.
Shani – Any disappointments have now been overcome.
Ranjan – Ok God Bless.
Shani – Sir, try to come or otherwise there is no use.
What we need to ask is has there ever been an incident of this nature before that had taken place in this country. Has there ever been a Deputy Minister of a Government talking to a top officer of the prosecution concerning the verdict of a trial even before the delivery of that verdict. It is simply unheard of an unprecedented. It has also been the first time that a Minister had spoken to a Judge before the delivery of a verdict in a decisive case.
These reasons are enough to suggest what sort of interference had been made to that case. It is due these facts that we say Duminda Silva’s should be granted a pardon. The law has to be enforced to all and sundry equally. The intervention of Ramanayake to this case by giving phone calls to Ranawaka and Abeysekara are not miniscule. It had been reported to Court that the trio had been engaged in 22 such calls among themselves. The calls had taken place from 14 July 2016 to 11 September 2019. It has to be asked from Harin as to what he has to say to these revelations of phone calls among Padmini, Ranjan, and Shani.
Ranjan-Shani (21 minutes 27 seconds) 10 May 2016, Time – 12:46 p.m.
Ranjan- Hello, Shani is it you?
Shani – Yes.
Ranjan – I am Ranjan Ramanayake.
Shani – Sir, good afternoon.
Ranjan – I called you to wish you. So you haven’t saved my number.
Shani – No. I have saved your number.
Ranjan – Are you now an ASP or SP.
Shani – Only an SP
Ranjan – That is good news. Can I speak to you in confidence?
Shani – Yes you can.
Ranjan – Our case no issue isn’t it?
Shani – No there is no issue. Nine will go in. Now the evidence is over now only the speeches. These are only oral and written submissions if the jailors request it. They will give a date. It will be taken again on 24th.
Ranjan – Then we need not worry about the verdict isn’t it?
Shani – No there is nothing to worry.
Ranjan-Shani (28 minutes 39 seconds) 25 July 2016 Time 12:12 p.m.
Shani – Sir
Ranjan – How are you?
Shani – It is urgent can I talk to you.
Ranjan – Yes.
Shani – I will worship you don’t try to talk to any mother’s son regarding this case or else it will scupper the case.
Ranjan – Is it true?
Shani – I am begging you. Don’t try to open your trap. The case has reached a decisive juncture. Even now you taking this call to me could be exposed. However, we will try to balance it. Don’t open you trap even by mistake. Anything that you know do not tell anyone.
Ranjan – Right, I have not told anyone. Today I will be meeting the President in the evening.
Shani – No Sir, don’t tell anyone for God’s sake.
Ranjan – Is everything taken care of?
Shani – Ok, everything is under control.
The contents of these audio tapes are more than enough to reveal the true motives behind the statement made to Parliament by SJB MP Harin Fernando. The so-called arguments brought forth by him do not hold any water. This further underscores the fact that there has been a miscarriage of justice concerning the verdict of the trial involving former MP Duminda Silva. It can only be rectified with a presidential pardon being given to him by way of a reprieve.