"Captain" Charles Gnanakone, a retired DC-8 pilot and an Australian passport holder, was the focus of media attention when the assassination of Sri Lankan foreign minister Luxman Kadirgamr took place. Charles Gnanakone was taken into custody on suspicions relating to the murder of Kadirgamar and was later released due to insufficient evidence to prosecute against him.
At the time of his arrest, he was running a non-government organisation called "Humanitarian Rehabilitation Services", which falsely used the Red Cross logo to give it credibility. Australian Red Cross confirmed that Charles Gnanakone's Humanitarian Rehabilitation Services have no connection whatsoever with Red Cross. They also claim that "Any use by Charles Gnanakone of the Red Cross emblem has not been authorised and is against the law."
Charles Gnanakone first shot in to the limelight when the Weekend Liberal in Australia exposed his 60-million deal to develop "Dubbo" - a rural town between Sydney and Melbourne. He was brought into this Pioneer Spirit Developers - PSD project by his business partner Jimmy Foo, who had lobbied then immigration minister Philip Ruddock to grant residency to Asian investors in the PSD project. Gnanakone with his Singaporean partner lodged a 60-million dollar property development plan which includes residential houses, golf course and other facilities. It was the biggest ever development plan lodged with the Dubbo City Council. However "Captain" Charles Gnanakone left a string of debts after a cash-for-visas scheme he was involved in embarrassed minister Ruddock before it foundered. His business partner, Foo was later found to be living illegally on a false passport. Jimmy Foo moved to Singapore, where he was jailed for 6 years for a real-estate scam. Gnanakone too was questioned by the authorities for his role in the shady dealings of the Singaporean partner.
Throughout 2002 Charles Gnanakone split his time between Dubbo and his family in Melbourne and apparently returned to Australia for Christmas in 2003 and 2004. Though Sri Lankan press refer to him as a "millionaire businessman" his former connections in Dubbo believe he may have squandered much of his inheritance and say he left the city owing more than $10,000 in debts. Businessman Andrew Grant said: "When Gnanakone left Dubbo, he left behind a string of bills. In businesses we owned he had $2000 owing in one restaurant, $1000 in a pizza place, a $1000 laundry bill and we had to pay $2000 for his computer, which we couldn't recover. Mr Grant said he went to talk to the Australian Federal Police about Jimmy Foo - Gnanakone's business partner, but they were more interested in finding out about Gnanakone". (Please find the full report in Dubbo News in Australia on 14 October 2005).
'The Australian', the equivalent of the London Times, has highlighted Capt. Charles Gnanakone as an agent of the LTTE known for "money-laundering and smuggling guns for the Tamil Tiger terrorists group of Sri Lanka".
On June 18, 2000 Ranil Wickremesinghe the former Sri Lankan prime minister who later signed the alleged Cease Fire Agreement - CFA with LTTE reported to have flown to Singapore to have breakfast with Charles Gnanakone at the Conrad International Hotel. Indian News agency PTI, quoting the state-run Daily News, reported that Wickremesinghe had "a two-hour meeting with Gnanakone, an LTTE leader-in-charge of the group's shipment of arms and ammunition". Charles Gnanakone at a later date revealed in his interview with Kathy Stone - the investigative reporter of Weekend Liberal in Dubbo, that he was playing a key role as a peace broker and that the Sri Lankan government headed by Wickremesinghe had sent him a first class ticket to attend the peace talks. The Sri Lankan High Commission was instructed to pay the air fare for Gnanakone to attend the "peace talks". "What is a terrorist organisation to you is for me something different, we are fighting for our freedom, you see." Gnanakone told the Daily Liberal newspaper of his sympathies for the LTTE. This interview was published in Weekend Liberal's issue of December 21, 2002.
Besides, in an interview to a Sri lankan English weekend newspaper, Sharmalee Gnanakone, sister-in-law of Charles Gnanakone, admitted that her family was a prominent overseas supporter of the LTTE. She also said that her husband Donald Jayantha Gnankone was indirectly connected to the LTTE and supplied medicines and essential food supplies to the Tamils under Tiger control. Sharmalee's husband Donald Jayanatha Gnanakone, was the assistant editor of "Eelam Nation", a pro-LTTE web-site and a prominent supporter of LTTE.
On 22nd January 2007, Mr. B.Raman, a retired additional secretary to the Cabinet Secretariat of Govt. of India published his views on current LTTE leadership in the web site named www.tamilnation.org. In his comments Mr. Raman says ".. The recent operations of the LTTE and its political actions have once again called into question the qualities of leadership of Prabakaran. His leadership has been consistently marked since 1990 by an erratic and irrational streak. One saw it in the LTTE's brutal assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Laxman Kadirgamar, the former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, in 2005, and in his humiliation of Karuna. The LTTE has been paying a heavy price for these erratic and irrational actions of Prabakaran. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi cost it the support of the Indian people, including the people of Tamil Nadu. The assassination of Kadirgamar marked the beginning of the end of international sympathy for the organisation. The humiliation of Karuna has deprived it of the services of its most talented conventional commander". He further says "..An organisation headed by a leader, who understands only terrorism, is unlikely to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the international community. Prabakaran is a liability for the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Tamils in the post-9/11 world.. If Sri Lankan Tamils have to preserve the gains made by thousands of their cadres since 1983, they have to find a new leadership. . Prabakaran is no longer the man of the future. He is passed. He has become a liability for the Tamil cause. The sooner the Sri Lankan Tamils realise it, the better for them."
Replying to the former additional secretary in a very arrogant mood Donald Jayantha Gnanakone claims……" The sole representatives of the Tamils, LTTE, and its leader Velupillai Pirabhakaran will never be replaced by any other Tamil including the coolies and "traitors" created by RAW and other Indians. . Why don't you admit the "stupid mistakes" of Delhi in the handling of Tamil militant groups, which turned out to be Indian quisling groups under Rajiv Gandhi's command and control in later years? Gandhi is also responsible for the murders, deaths, rapes, and suffering of thousands of innocent Tamils in the North-East. Who gave them that right to kill the Tamils? So please do remember that India has been responsible for the deaths of over 25 Tamil leaders, including the complicity in the tragic affairs of Mahattya and Karuna, which has caused so much of pain and suffering to the Tamils and the LTTE. Pirabhakaran has been the Tamil leader for nearly 30 years, and despite the fact that his goal has not been accomplished he has brought respect, hope and dignity to the Tamils worldwide". Donald Jayantha brashly say that "the Tamils in Colombo are safe today, purely due to the "fear factor" of the LTTE and not the generosity of either the GOI or GOSL. Since India has been an integral part of the Tamil liberation struggle, with it's Tamil Nadu leaders like Chief Minister M G Ramachandran and Indian PM Indira Gandhi providing valuable support to the LTTE in the eighties and until their untimely deaths, India has a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to assist the Tamils so that they can live, develop, and prosper in their Tamil homeland with self respect and dignity.
Though the Gnanakone brother again and again claims that India has a "moral, ethical, and legal obligation to" threat the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, the cat comes out of the bag when his comments on "Sethu Samudram" project are reviewed. "India has a vested interest in the Oil and Gas which is available in the Gulf of Mannar. Please wake up, and smell the coffee..." he pleaded Sri Lankan media. Donald Jayantha Gnanakone became "Greenish" overnight, to join hands with Sri Lankan NGO s in organizing large scale demonstrations against "Sethu Samudram" project. While inviting India to defeat the anti terrorist activities carried out by Sri Lankan Government, Donald Jayantha Gnanakone played a controversial double role by antagonizing Sri Lankans against India in his campaign against "Sethu Samudram", merely to prevaricate a future threat to LTTE's supply sources by Indo - Sri Lanka military operations to safeguard the territorial waters.
Making references to the funeral of assassinated Sri Lankan foreign minister Luxman Kadirgamar, Donald Jayantha Gnanakone also said "…. I also attended the funeral of Lakshman Kadirgamar at his house, from 1-3 PM that day, and let me tell you that it was the only funeral I attended in my whole life where I never saw a tear, and witnessed more Buddhist Priest chanting, while attending a Christian's funeral, than the number of people in the house. There were nearly 200 hundred Buddhist priest there, in the funeral house, compound and outside". While his brother being the prime suspect of the murder, this remark of Donald Jayantha Gnanakone is clear enough for some one to judge where he stands.
As reported by Walter Jayawardhana in Asian Tribune, Charles Gnanakone reportedly have said 20 million U.S. dollars were ready to be offered as bribes for 20 turn coat parliamentarians to topple the government of
. Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya Jayasuriya in a special statement revealed that the Australian based Tamil businessman Charles Gnanakone's attempt to bribe two MPs from the UNP rebel group with an offer of US $ 1 million each to cross over to the Opposition. Sri lankan Minister Rajitha Senarathne confirming information delivered by Minister Karu Jayasuriya said " the Australia based LTTE activist, Charles Gnanakone, had telephoned from a foreign country to at least two parliamentarians offering bribes in an attempt to defeat the government in the Sri Lanka parliament”.
It is crystal clear whom these two Gnanakone brothers are working for. It seems that they are not ready to give up even after been exposed. Isn't this the right time to think of teaching a lesson to corrupted Sri Lankan politicians who always rely on the financial assistance of these terrorist agents?
Chandana S. Jayakody