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Dec 03, 2016

The Nilame who shamed Sagala & Pujith Featured

The identity of the ‘Nilame’ of the Matara Devinuwara Vishnu Devalaya Dishan Wickremaratne Gunasekara who is the topic of discussion currently over a phone call received by the IGP Pujith Jayasundara while at a public function is no secret.

Dilshan was appointed as the Basnayake Nilame of the Matara Devinuwara Vishnu Devalaya on June 3, 2010.

The Chief of the temple at the time was Mahabethme R. Thenabadu.
Subsequent to the good governance regime assuming power, Thenabadu had lodged a complaint on May 26, 2015 to the President, Prime Minister, Commissioner General of the Buddha Sasana Ministry and the IGP stating that during Dilshan’s tenure he had acted in violation of the Vihara Devalagam Ordinance (Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance).

Based upon the complaint made to the IGP, the FCID had commenced an investigation into the allegations and Thenabadu’s evidence was recorded on March 23, 2016.

In addition statements of around 20 other employees of the temple were also recorded by the FCID.

The Chief of the temple had cited 15 charges against Dilshan.

Among the allegations cited by Thenabadu in his complaint were failure to produce and gain approval for the estimated budget in accordance with the Vihara Devalagam Ordinance, purchasing of vehicles without the approval of the Buddhist Affairs commissioner, failure to include in the budgetary reports a sum of Rs. 4 million that was given by the Devinuwara Pradeshiya Sabha in 2011 for the Esala celebration expenses, spending Rs. 4 million for a security fence without prior approval and failure to include in the budgetary reports a sum of Rs. 1.35 million obtained by the sale of old lamps belonging to the Natha Devalaya.

Another of the complaints highlighted was the purchase of a Bolero cab bearing No. SPPQ 7769 without the prior approval of the Buddhist Affairs Commissioner.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had raised this issue in parliament and the cab was subsequently taken over by the temple authorities.
However it is against the regulations to purchase a vehicle with temple funds without the prior approval under a private name.

In addition the fence constructed with temple funds without prior approval on the pavement of the Matara Tangalle road which comes under the jurisdiction of the Highways Department also is cited as being in violation of the Vihara Devalagam Ordinance.
Meanwhile staff to the temple had also been recruited without the prior approval of the commissioner and Rs. 9.5 million had been included as salaries in the 2013/2014 budget reports.

Thenabadu had also alleged in his complaint to the IGP that he had been paying salaries with temple funds to employees of the Lanka Mineral sands Corporation where he was holding a high position.

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