FCID grills former Intel Chief Hendawitharana

Published : 8:52 am  June 15, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana and Darshana Sanjeewa   
Former National Intelligence Head, Retired Major General Kapila Hendawitharana was grilled by the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) yesterday for an on-going probe of receiving Rs.3.2 million from a Jaffna based satellite television group.   DM_20170615_A001-5


The former high ranking military official who arrived at the FCID Office in Fort around 10.00 a.m. yesterday, had been questioned for close to seven hours and a statement was recorded before he was permitted to leave, the FCID sources said. The retired Major General had been summoned to be quizzed about his involvement in arranging a multi-million rupee payment for a Jaffna based satellite television group called ‘Ask Media and Cabal Vision Network’ through government funds, for the services obtained from them.   

Hendawitharana was alleged to have received a sum of Rs.3.2 million from a person identified as S. Kuhandan, which amount had been credited to his account at Bank of Ceylon (BOC), from a number of other banks countrywide.   . The preliminary investigations revealed that the previous government solicited services from the Dan TV to air pro-government Tamil News that were telecast on the state television channels like the SLRC and ITN to be aired in countries like France and Canada, where a majority of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora was present, the sources said.   

This project was launched by the previous government as a counter measure to the pro-LTTE programmes and anti-government programmes that were being aired in such countries, the sources said. For the services rendered to the government by the private satellite channel conglomerate, a sum of Rs.153 million was said to have been paid by the then Presidential Secretariat, which process was allegedly arranged by the former top intelligence chief. The FCID following the order received from the then Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris in May 2015, checked all the bank accounts belonging to Hendawitharana and learnt that sums of money had been credited to his BOC account.  

S Kuhandan was said to have maintained Dish Asia Network Television from two bases – one in Sri Lanka at the BMICH where the Main Control Room (MCR) was conducted and the other being the Satellite Uplink which was done from Paris, France. The FCID detectives are presently investigating to determine whether the former top official had a mutual understanding with the satellite TV conglomerate operative, to siphon off a sum of money paid to air the local propaganda programmes, the sources further said.  
Mr. Hendawitharana is expected to report to the FCID today as well.