Malik demands 1bn from news paper
Sri Lanka, Jan. 3 — Former UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema yesterday sent a letter of demand claiming One Billion Rupees from a daily English language newspaper over an alleged defamatory article that had been published in it.
The letter of demand sent through Attorney at Law Indula Hewage states:
I write on the instructions of my client Mr. Malik Samarawickrema of 50/24, Buller’s Lane, Colombo 7.
My client is a prominent member of the United National Party and a former Chairman of the Party, and is a long standing member of its Working Committee.
He is also a reputed businessman.
I am instructed by my client that a newspaper published by you carried the lead article in its issue of December 28, 2014 on page 1 with the banner headline “In a long telephone call to President, MALIK SPILLS BEANS” which continued the story prominently on page 2 of the said issue.
Your said article and its headline contain the following statements, inter alia:
(a) “Malik Spills Beans”
(b) How my client telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at 9.35 am and spilled the beans on how former President Chandrika Kumaratunga manipulated the joint opposition plan to grab UPFA ministers and members to challenge Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential polls
(c) How my client had assured the President that the UNP leader would not accept UPFA Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapha who plans to crossover and had also conveyed a request from Wickremesinghe asking the President not to take UNP members.
(d) My client had further assured that Wickremesinghe will not accept anymore UPFA members into his fold. My client had reportedly briefed the President on how Faizer Musthapha was approached by the joint opposition to convince him to crossover.
(e) My client had also disclosed a UPFA name list to Rajapaksa with whom Kumaratunga was in touch to attract to the joint opposition.
(f) Sources said an annoyed President after listening to Samarawickreme had warned the latter not to play double games in politics carrying tales from one side to other and also not to worry him asking for business deals from the government.
(g) My client struck a deal with the Rajapaksa government earlier on the Colombo – Kandy Expressway project through which he benefitted in massive monetary gains.
(h) My client had told the President that he and Wickremesinghe were aware that Maithripala Sirisena would get defeated at the January 8, 2015 presidential poll.
(1) Sources said Samarawickreme had disclosed more details about Kumaratunga’s plans to grab more UPFA members into the joint opposition.
I am instructed that my client did not telephone the President on the occasion referred to by you in the said article. It was in fact the President who telephoned my client.
I am also instructed that the words/contents of the said article and headline and/or the gist of the article and headline were false and to your knowledge defamatory of my client both per se as well as by innuendo and that you published and/or caused to be published the said words/contents and/or the gist of the words/contents with animus injuriandi and express malice against my client.
My client has instructed me that by your said conduct you have brought him into hatred, ridicule and contempt among members of the public and to cause damage to his public life. I am further instructed to state that you are abusing your power as a media institution with a wide circulation to make grossly defamatory statements against my client who is a prominent member of the United National Party which is the main opposition party supporting the candidature of the Common Opposition Candidate Maitripala Sirisena at the forthcoming Presidential Election to be held on January 8, 2015 at which President Mahinda Rajapaksa is also a candidate, and to defame my client for political purposes and to give wide publicity to such false and defamatory statements against my client.
I am further instructed that the publication of the aforesaid defamatory statements against by client has caused loss and damage to my client’s dignity and reputation which my client estimates at Rs.1,000,000,000/- (Rupees One billion).
In the premises I am instructed by my client to demand that you pay to my client the said sum of Rs.l,000,000,000/- (Rupees One billion) as damages within 7 days of the date hereof. Should you fail to pay my client the said sum within the said period, my client will institute action against you for the recovery of the said sum together with interest and costs.
Quote: I am further instructed that the publication of the aforesaid defamatory statements against by client has caused loss and damage to my client’s dignity and reputation which my client estimates at Rs.1,000,000,000/- (Rupees One billion).