dispel suspicion on Soma Thera's death
on Dec. 24
The cremation of Ven. Soma Thera will take place on December
24, (Wednesday) at Independence Square with full State patronage.
procession will start from Maharagama Dharmayathanaya on Wednesday
at 1 p.m. and proceed along High Level Road to the Independence
Square. The funeral pyre would be set alight at 6 p.m.
tension, speculation and allegations, a panel of Sri Lanka's three
top JMOs meeting together for the first time have reported after
a post-mortem that the death of the Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera
was due to heart failure.
Acting on this report, Gampaha's Chief Magistrate Saman Wickramaarachchi
has ruled that the death of the prelate was due to natural causes
and there was no foul play.
A panel of
specialists comprising Dr. Ananada Samarasekera, JMO of Ragama,
Dr. Lilantha De Alwis, JMO of Colombo, Dr. S.M. Colombage, JMO of
Kalubowila, assisted by Prof. Chandrasiri Niriella, Senior Professor
in Forensic Medicine of the University of Ruhuna, and Dr. Vajira
Senarathne , Cardiologist of Colombo National Hospital, conducted
the post-mortem on Thursday at the Ragama hospital.
The JMO report
was filed before the Gampaha Magistrate, Saman Wickramaarachchi
after Negombo Magistrate M. M. Buran declined to take up the case.
Dr. Ananda Samarasekera told The Sunday Times although the Magistrate
had asked him to conduct the post mortem, he preferred to conduct
it under a panel.
The panel had
determined that the immediate cause of the death was due to Myocardial
Infarction of the apical region of the left ventricle, subsequent
to the blockage by a thrombus (blood clot) in the left descending
coronary artery and a severe Arteriosclerosis and calcification
of the artery. The report showed that the Thera had had an old fibrosis
area in the left ventricular wall, indicating that he had a previous
evidence had been found to indicate any poisoning, all necessary
autopsy samples had been preserved to be tested by the Government
Analyst and for future reference, Dr. Samarasekera said. He said
a detailed report of the post-mortem would be submitted to the courts
by next month.
after giving his verdict on Friday, ruling out all suspicions of
foul play, allowed the Maharagama Dharmayathanaya to take charge
of the remains.
At the examining of evidence before Magistrate Wickramarachchi,
the monk's brother Wiretungaarachchige Don Padmasiri and sister
Wiretungaarachchige Don Srima said their brother had told them that
he was being treated well and in perfect condition and, therefore,
that his sudden death aroused suspicion.
Walpita, testifying said he was assigned by Ambassador U.B. Wijekoon,
to accompany the remains of the monk to Sri Lanka and hand them
over to Ven. Thirikunamale Ananda Thera at the Katunayake International
Secretary of the Janawijaya Foundation told the inquest that Prof.
Shanti Pushpakumara Jayasekera, brother of Janawijaya editor Sisira
Jayasekera, was the rector of the International University of Fundamental
Studies (IUFS) of St. Petersburg and it was the professor who arranged
the Ven. Soma Thera to travel to Russia to confer on him a honorary
doctorate for his book, Buddha Stupa.
He said the Thera had left Sri Lanka on October 10, and he came
to know through Prof. Jayasekera that the Thera had been admitted
to a hospital due to a sudden heart attack he suffered while flying.
He said that the professor had called him to say the Thera was in
need of bypass surgery and an Angiogram be performed before it and
wanted Rs. 800,000 deposited into the account of the Thera.
said he was informed that the health condition of the Thera who
was residing in a fitness centre, was improving and he was fit for
surgery. He submitted to the Magistrate a list of names on a letterhead
of a fundamentalist religious group. The name of Ven. Soma Thera
appeared in the list of prominent Buddhist personalities, which
he claimed to be a hit list. Meanwhile, Katunayake OIC M. P. E.
Jayaweera told The Sunday Times that although the inquest had been
concluded beyond doubt that the death was caused due to natural
causes, the Police would continue investigations and submit a report
to the courts.