Mr. Tiran Alles, widely regarded as the link man between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), created a stir last night over President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s move to bring the Rehabilitation and Development Authority (RADA) under the newly-sworn-in Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.
Mr. Alles contended that the LTTE was not in favour of such a move and preferred RADA remain under President Rajapaksa. It is not immediately clear whether the view expressed by Mr. Alles was his own or that of the LTTE. In the past, the LTTE has not interfered with Government appointments. Mr. Alles is the head of the RADA that is tasked to carry out post-tsunami recovery and development work in the North and East, particularly areas that are dominated by Tiger guerrillas. In the past months, he has had meetings in the North and East where LTTE representatives have taken part.
Government sources say one of the reasons that prompted UNP`s Mahinda Samarasinghe to join President Rajapaksa`s administration was the offer of a portfolio which would encompass RADA. In the light of Mr. Alles` objections, these sources say, President Rajapaksa may be compelled to bring the subject back under his control. According to these sources, the move has already caused disappointment to Mr. Samarasinghe.
Mr. Alles is also chairman of the Sri Lanka Aviation Services, the authority that is responsible for the Bandaranaike International Airport. He wielded strong political clout and was successful in over-ruling a decision by Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa to appoint former Security Forces Commander, Jaffna, Major General (retired) Sunil Tennekoon as Deputy Chairman.
The letter of appointment issued to Maj. Gen. (retd.) Tennekoon was withdrawn and destroyed. Thereafter, he was given another appointment in the Board of Investment.