Iraq-terror victim tells of conman
and area politicos
By Nalaka Nonis
It’s almost two years since
truck driver Dinesh Rajaratnam was abducted by militants
in Iraq and later released.
He returned to Sri Lanka amid loads
of promises including assurances of land, housing and
good education for his children.
In addition to realizing that many
of the promises would remain empty words he has allegedly
been played out by a conman.
According to Mr. Rajaratnam, the man
posing off as a policeman and claiming to have contacts
in various ministries and the US embassy had promised
to expedite the compensation due to him from the Kuwait
firm that sent him to Iraq. He had also promised Mr.
Rajaratnam and his wife employment in Cyprus and had
in the process allegedly helped himself to Rs. 200,000
Mr. Rajaratnam says that he hasn’t
got what he believes is due to him as compensation and
feels that little is being done by government officials
here to help him. While trying to find someone to sort
out his compensation issue he is also trying to hunt
down the conman who regularly visited the Peliyagoda
Terrorist Investigation Division (TID).
Mr. Rajaratnam says he got acquainted
with the conman when he was invited to contest the local
elections on the United People’s Freedom Alliance
(UPFA) ticket early this year. He had not only promised
to help expedite the compensation payment but also send
the couple for employment to Cyprus.
To convince Mr. Rajaratnam that he
was a police officer with influence, he had taken him
along to the Peliyagoda TID on several occasions and
introduced him to other officers.
“I was convinced that he was
a man with influence. I told him I would pay him Rs.
50,000 if he could expedite my compensation dues. He
told me he knew officials at the Foreign Ministry,”
Mr. Rajaratnam said.
Mr. Rajaratnam says that on receiving
the compensation in April this year he fulfilled his
promise and paid the man Rs. 50,000. He paid him another
Rs. 150,000 after being promised employment in Cyprus.
Mr. Rajaratnam said he even went to
the extent of boarding one of his children in Kandy
in preparation to travel to Cyprus.
“Soon after I gave the second
lot of money to the man who identified himself as Mahadeva
Ratnarajaha he went missing. I called over at the Peliyagoda
TID only to be told that he was an informant,”
He said he didn’t lodge a formal
complaint as the police had assured him that they would
look for the man who had disappeared with the money.
In addition to being duped by a conman
Mr. Rajaratnam laments that some politicians who promised
him housing, land and money have failed to keep to their
He claims that one of them was Fisheries
Minister Felix Perera who had promised him a plot of
He says that Mr. Perera had sent a letter to the Urban
Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena recommending
him for a plot of land, but so far he had not got a
Mr. Rajaratnam also believes he is
entitled to more than the Rs. 495,673 he received as
compensation from the Kuwaiti company.
“Unfortunately there is no one
to follow up my case. My Bangladeshi colleague who was
abducted along with me received compensation equivalent
of Rs. 1.4 million,” he claimed.
Mr Rajaratnam says his colleague was
able to obtain a higher amount as compensation as he
had all the correct documents.
“I now feel I should have collected
all my documents from my work place before I was brought
back to Sri Lanka,” he said.
But a Foreign Ministry spokesman told
The Sunday Times that Mr. Rajaratnam’s Bangladeshi
colleague obtained a higher payment as he had agreed
to return for employment in Kuwait.
“The allegation that we hurriedly
brought him down to Sri Lanka before he collected his
documents is not correct. It was his family members
who wanted to see him soon after his release,”
the spokesman said.
Mr. Rajaratnam also claims he should
get insurance payment amounting to Rs. 100,000 which
he had obtained before he left for employment. The Sri
Lanka Insurance Corporation has refused the payment
on the grounds that repatriation was not within the
cover of its insurance policy.
However, Mr. Rajaratnam believes that
under his contract he had to work according to the instructions
of the employer and that he was repatriated while performing
his duties assigned to him by the company.