President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reprimanded Minister Arumugam Thindaman in foul language yesterday (26) afternoon and the minister had reportedly tendered his resignation following the incident.
The First Lady had appointed Rohan Wickremasinghe as the head of the Milco Company, which is under Thondaman. Although company had been on a financial decline for some time, no one raised objections due to the close relationship between Wickremasinghe and the First Lady.
Milco had paid Rs. 170 million to sugar traders by last month for sugar purchases to manufacture yoghurt. Another sum of Rs. 120 million had been spent to purchase yoghurt cups. Although trade union representatives have asked the Milco Chairman to increase production, he had rejected the requests and has maintained a 60% production level.
In this backdrop, workers at Milco have commenced union action demanding an incentive payment for the New Year. The trade union representatives have rejected a request by the Ministry Secretary for them to visit the Ministry for a discussion on the matter. All the workers have unanimously criticized the Chairman’s unilateral actions.
Minister Thondaman had removed the Milco Chairman with immediate effect after hearing the matter. The President had re-appointed the Chairman a few minutes later. Angered by it, Thondaman had telephoned the President’s confidential secretary, MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena and said the President has “done a dirty deal.” Gunawardena had immediately informed the matter to the President. Unable to contain his anger, the President had telephoned Thondaman and shouted at him in extreme foul language.
“Don’t you come up with the same antics you did with Chandrika and Ranil. Rajapaksas don’t like such actions. I have no problem even if I lose you. You better keep that in mind. Don’t try these acts with me again,” the President had shouted.
However, the President had been disturbed after hearing that Thondaman had submitted his resignation letter. The President had asked Minister Maithripala Sirisena to bring Thondaman from where ever he is. Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge had asked that Thondaman be kept in the Cabinet since his resignation at this moment would have an impact internationally. It is then that the President had summoned Sirisena and begged him to find Thondaman from where ever he is.