it was lost, then found, but now it’s in pieces
The controversy over the laying of the foundation stone at Mahagedara
for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Headquarters at Battaramulla
reached its climax last week when an unidentified group vandalized
the plaque and allegedly stole the bronze plate.
plaque, reported to have gone missing earlier which incident was
later denied by SLFP bigwigs, had been broken into pieces while
it was under police protection. The Police personnel on duty say
they did not see any one entering the area as it was raining heavily
and visibility was poor at the time the incident is said to have
Province Minister and Organizing Committee Chairperson Hector Bethmage
told The Sunday Times the plaque was vandalized by some unknown
group allegedly with malicious intentions to undermine his standing
within the party, weaken him politically and jeopardize the stability
of the party.
Bethmage said the police guard however are said to have spotted
some people whom the police now believe may have been the culprits
leaving the area but were unable to apprehend them.
said soon after the incident he had lodged a formal complaint at
the Thalangama Police station stating an unknown group had allegedly
damaged the plaque and stolen the bronze plate that was fixed to
it and valued at Rs. 125,000.
to date the Police have not reported of any new developments with
regard to the investigations, Mr. Bethmage said. However, an insider,
contradicting Minister Bethmage's statement to the Police said the
bronze plaque was safe and could be seen at the Darley Road SLFP
Headquarters, as the plaque had been removed earlier.
insider said it was not removed to add Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's
name as some others allege because the Prime Minister himself had
approved the design some time earlier. Mr. Rajapakse had approved
the design during a function held at President's House to launch
the 'Maha Gedera Construction Fund' some two weeks before the laying
of the foundation stone.
this person said that the 'positive', which was used to make the
plate, had gone missing. Thalangama police OIC Amith Gunaratne said
the police assistant on duty at the time of the incident had not
seen anything untoward happening.
Gunaratne said the Thalangama police had conducted the preliminary
investigations and the case had now been handed over to Homagama
police Senior Superintendent Wickrema Perera under the purview of
DIG K.P.P. Pathirana, although he said he was unaware as to why
it was handed over to a DIG. DIG Pathirana was unavailable for comment
as he was abroad.
was earlier reported that the plaque went missing on September 2,
two days after the laying of the foundation stone. A renowned craftsman
Rahul Perera the designer of the brass plaque had said that under
the supervision of SLFP he had removed the plaque for wax polishing