Bengaluru, Jan 18: A report from Sri Lanka suggests that an Indian official had a role to play in the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa, a charge that has been denied by New Delhi.
The Sunday Times newspaper in Sri Lanka had a report which stated that an officer with the Research and Analysis Wing had lost his job in Colombo due to his links with the anti Rajapaksa faction or the opposition in Sri Lanka.
Was the officer recalled?
Sources in New Delhi inform that the report in Sri Lanka is not correct. We had transferred the officer who was the head of the RAW's Colombo station and this was a routine procedure.
However the buzz in Sri Lanka is that this officer had played a vital role along with the opposition in the defeat of Rajapaksa. The same line has also been towed by the new establishment in Sri Lanka which says that it is not aware of these developments.
India was concerned about Chinese build up
It is no secret that Rajapaksa had used the Chinese connection to keep India at bay. The growing fondness between China and the Rajapaksa regime was not something that India was comfortable about.
Indian officials say that Rajapaksa had permitted two Chinese submarines to dock in Sri Lanka and this was not intimated to New Delhi. Such incidents are of great security concern to India and Sri Lanka ought to have intimated about the same, an official also added.
India denies charge
Although India is happy to make a fresh start with Sirisena, it says that there is no truth in the report. The defeat of Rajapaksa was due to the politics over there and the opposition had mustered a great deal of public support.
The people of Sri Lanka wanted a change in regime and hence Rajapaksa lost and it had nothing to do with India's meddling. The official however adds that with Sirisena indicating that his first priority would be India, it would indeed be a fresh start.
The allegation against the officer
In Sri Lanka a section has alleged that the RaW official had convinced Ranil Wickremasinghe not to contest against Rajapaksa.
The officer is further alleged to have told Wickremasinghe of supporting Sirisena instead who had a better chance of winning.
Rajapaksa has become difficult to handle
Several complaints about the proximity of Rajapaksa and the Chinese had been flooding New Delhi. At first it was being seen as a normal trade relationship and India did not mind.
However for India everything changed when the two Chinese submarines were docked in Sri Lanka. India viewed this as aggression and also betrayal of trust.
In addition to this the issue of letting away Pakistan's consular officer Amir Zubair Siddiqui too had not gone down too well with India. Siddiqui a consular officer in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo had formed a module to strike at South India.
After the arrest of operatives such as Sakir Hussain in Chennai, India had told Sri Lanka not to let Siddiqui get away as his name had cropped up in the investigation.
However the Rajapaksa regime did not heed to that request and Siddiqui was given a safe passage out of Sri Lanka to Pakistan.