Yoshitha Rajapaksa, son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent a letter of demand to environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara seeking Rs. 500 million for making a defamatory statement at a media conference.
Rajapaksa’s lawyers have stated in the letter that Rajapaksa does not own a hotel in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve as claimed by the environmentalist.
“I strongly deny fake allegations made by certain individuals that I own a hotel in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. My lawyers are pursuing legal action against those who have made such claims and demand that these statements are corrected immediately,” Rajapaksa tweeted with a copy of the letter of demand sent by his lawyers, Neelakandan & Neelakandan.
In his letter of demand, Rajapaksa has sought a retraction of the statement, an apology and Rs. 500 million as damages.
Chammikara is said to have told the media last week that a controversial road project had recommenced to connect a main road to a hotel owned by Yoshitha Rajapaksa in Sinharaja.
Yoshitha Rajapaksa claimed that the allegations were false, unfounded, baseless and fabricated with clear intention to defame and tarnish his image.
His lawyers have also warned that legal action will be taken if the environmentalist fails to meet the demands.
Concerns were raised by various environmentalists after the road project was recommenced with the Army constructing a road through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve which was declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies of Sri Lanka (CENS) had also filed a complaint with UNESCO on the illegal road construction.
Thereafter, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed the authorities to temporarily suspend road development work taking place inside the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. (Colombo Gazette)