Transport, Highways and Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has demanded Rs.1 billion as compensation for the damage caused to his reputation through statements made in the mainstream media by Indika Dodangoda (Dodangoda Hevage Indika), Convener of the Railways Rebuilding Trade Union Federation.
A Letter of Demand in this connection has been sent by the Minister’s lawyer Minoli Roshanara Alexandra on September 15. If the damages are not paid within 14 days, legal action will be taken against Dodangoda, as per the Letter of Demand. Also, in the future, if Dodangoda tries to damage the reputation of Minister Gunawardena by making such defamatory statements, steps will be taken to take legal action him without any further notice, according to the Letter of Demand.
The Letter of Demand notes that in a statement given to the media regarding the railway signalling project from Mirigama to Mahara on September 14, Dodangoda has made a defamatory statement against Minister Gunawardena. It is stated that the baseless and malicious statements had been made against the Minister.
Through this Letter of Demand, the lawyer said that the relevant statement has caused unbearable damage to the reputation of her client, who is a renowned politician and intellectual.
The Letter of Demand states that Dr. Gunawardena is a graduate of Beijing University, a management graduate of the Sri Jayewardenepura University and a lifetime member of the Chartered Institute of Accountants.
In the year 2017, he received the “Vidyodaya Vidya Vibhushana” award and has also been awarded the “Dharma Shastrabhivardhana Ratnadipa Keerthi Sasana Bandhu” award of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya. It also states that he represented Sri Lanka in UNESCO’s Executive Board and he was instrumental in building 100 Mahindodaya laboratories in schools in Sri Lanka.
He introduced the “Technical subject” stream for the A-level syllabus. The Letter of Demand said that Dr. Gunawardena, who worked as a skilled economics teacher, is an author who has published more than 52 related books. He also produced award-winning films such as “Suddilage Kathawa”, “Sirimadura”, “Ayoma”, “The Newspaper”, “Saho” etc. At the Asian Film Awards, “The Newspaper” was recognised as the second best film in Asia.
It states that Dr. Gunawardena, who entered Parliament in 1989, has also held a number of Cabinet and State Ministerial positions.
He has served as the Minister of State for Rural Economic Affairs, Deputy Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade Development and Cooperative Customer Services, Minister of Higher Education, Minister of Foreign Investment Promotion, and Minister of Science and Technology.
The Letter of Demand notes that Dr. Gunawardena is currently serving as the Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media. It states that he is also the Cabinet spokesperson.
It has also been stated that the “Prajnabandu Scholarship Trust Fund” has been set up by Dr. Gunawardena for needy students. It also states that Dr. Gunawardena, who is engaged in active politics with the current President and the Prime Minister, is a key figure on the political stage.
It also states that he is a famous, recognised, educated and important person who offers opinions and ideas about the country’s economic situation and the necessary economic reforms.
The lawyer, in the Letter of Demand, states that Dodangoda has made statements regarding her client in a malicious manner to defame and demean his reputation.
The lawyer said that the statement made by Dodangoda on September 14 was done with malicious and defamatory intent. Legal action will be taken against such statements in the future.