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Some exclusives on Fonseka Coup

First allegations of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2005

(February 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The first allegations that Fonseka was plotting against the political leadership of the country came in late 2005 when he was chosen and subsequently appointed Army Commander. These allegations were made by some top-ranking Army officers. We were privy to some of this information at that time.

While a good section of President Rajapakse's close aides took it seriously, Secretary Defence Gotabhaya Rajapakse vetoed the allegations and defended Fonseka. His argument was Fonseka was a necessary evil, an equal matching force to route the LTTE.

Second allegation of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2007-08

Allegations against Fonseka came up again from within the Army following 1) the acquisition of large amounts of armoured vehicles considered at that time to be ideal for crowd control in a military take-over. This was later disproved with the launching of the Mechanized Infantry Division combining the Air Mobile Brigade (termed jokingly at that time as පයිං යන Air Mobile due to the Army not having air capabilities to airlift these units to battle), units of the Armoured Corp and others.

2) Fonseka was again suspected of planning a coup when he brought his Sinha Regiment to guard vital installations in Colombo. The greatest fear of a coup arose when he attempted to change the security at the Presidential Palace. Subsequently the President's Corp was created to provide security to the President, his family and other dignitaries.

Third allegation of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2009

The third allegation of a coup arose when some members of the Special Forces and Military Intelligence who were reporting directly to Fonseka provided information to Fonseka above a particular Brigadier and the Secretary Defence on the demise of Prabhakaran and other top-ranking Tigers. This happened soon after Fonseka returned to the country during the final phase of the war.

Fonseka despised the use of the Special Forces by this particular Brigadier (now Major General) and above all, Secretary Defence (operating through the Brigadier). He got into loggerheads with both claiming as his point of argument the 26 Special Forces killed during the final phase of the battle could have been minimized if the operation was not rushed.

Fonseka under surveillance

Constant rantings by Fonseka, particularly before and after the Army Tattoo led to him being kept under surveillance. It was even accused that the then Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda had a team following Fonseka. It was during this period that Fonseka was approached by Mangala Samaraweera and Anura Kumara.

Fonseka did not always show respect for his peers in the Security Forces. His command of the Sri Lanka Army gave him enormous power which he did not hesitate to demonstrate even at Security Council meetings. He had the comparative advantage of being a ground commander and having access to an experienced and talented Army. He deeply despised anyone in the Army directly reporting to the political command.

Fonseka's ambition was to command a very large Army but the politicians did not trust his motives and, above all, his ego. Some might say that the politicians were proven right. Others say misplaced suspicions drove Fonseka to take revenge.

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