‘If such meeting occurred, it may have been personal’: Spokesman
BY Pamodi Waravita The President’s Media Division (PMD) has not been informed of an official meeting between Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, who was named earlier this year as India’s second richest person, and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to President’s Media Spokesman Kingsly Rathnayake. “We have not been informed. Therefore, I believe that if such a meeting had occurred, it would have been in a personal capacity,” he added. Indian media reports stated that Adani was due to meet President Rajapaksa yesterday (25) during his visit to Sri Lanka. It is also reported that Adani is interested in development projects related to ports, power, and renewable energy. Reportedly, Adani also visited Mannar in the Northern Province yesterday. The Adani Group signed a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement last month with John Keells Holdings PLC and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to jointly develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) of the Colombo Port. Earlier this year, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) cancelled the controversial tripartite agreement with the Indian and Japanese Governments to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port. This cancellation was after months of trade union action, supported by religious leaders, who opposed what they alleged was the detrimental sale of national assets to foreign parties. Although the development of the WCT does not involve the Government of India, the Adani Group holds a majority 51% stake in the said BOT agreement, whilst John Keells and the SLPA hold a 34% and 15% stake, respectively.