Russian Roulette club’s last days
The All Ceylon Russian Roulette Club (south asia’s second oldest) will be dissolved through an unanimous vote by its interim central committee. The ACRRC’s announcement comes in the wake of numerous scandals and tragedies that has dogged the organisation in the past few years. According to a member speaking anonymously, this final blow was “inevitable”. Dissolution however is unlikely to end the many Police investigations originating from the organisation’s last years.
The tragic death of long time ACRRC president, Mr Pupurana Mahathuwaku during a training session hastened the process of decline. The 5 time SARRAC Russian Roulette gold medallist was a colourful figure. Yet many believe mismanagement during his divisive tenure was fatal to the organisation.
Famous for challenging anyone to investigate him, Mr Mahathuwaku’s death has come under Police investigation. The coroner’s office is conduction inquires as to whether Mr Mahathuwaku’s death is a murder, a suicide, a sporting accident or a tragic inventory error. Officially the ACRRC has denied that it is responsible for mislabelling the box of live ammunition which killed its president as as blank training rounds.
A separate investigation is under way regarding the sale of live rounds to organised crime figures. The ACRRC’s original position was that the numbers quoted in the invoices are a clerical error. However the interim central committee has distanced itself from that claim. In a statement they described the previous stance as a unauthorised declaration by the late president. According to the club secretary, the late president had issued the statement “unilaterally and without central committee authorisation”.
The ACRRC also declined to comment on a separate police investigation into illegal gambling and match fixing. The ministry of Defence has also not commented on its investigation regarding whether ammunition found on an LTTE operative in Colombo originated from ACRRC stocks.
An unnamed source alleges the late president’s “go it alone” methods were fatal to the ACRRC. Specially after the catastrophic defeat at the world championships in Omsk, Siberia killed off Sri Lanka’s chances of competing at the global level.
The ACRRC’s financial situation became dire shortly afterwards, when it failed to secure sponsorship from Smith & Winsson. The expensive campaign personally handled by Mr Mahathuwaku to lobby Smith & Winsson has been criticised as both an unwise gamble of badly depleted resources and poor strategic planning. An inquiry as to why Mr Mahathuwaku authorised payments to a now defunct Las Vegas PR firm run by a former classmate has been suspended “due to a lack of funds”. The ACRRC will auction off its historic collection of Nagant M1895 pistols belonging to the club’s founder to cover in light of numerous travel, bar and restaurant expenses invoiced to the ACRRC during the lobbying effort. The historic club property will also go under the hammer to cover mounting financial obligations and ongoing legal costs.
The club is unlikely get any financial support from the government. A spokesperson to the deputy non cabinet minister for Recreation, Sports Infrastructure and Up country Mango Cultivation Mr Maha Horachandiya, issued a statement confirming the government’s position. While acknowledging the club’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s sporting achievements, a financial bail out of the club is outside the department’s spending priorities.
In his statement the deputy non cabinet minister denied that Mr Mahathuwaku was a close associate. He further clarified that he met the late president only while attending the club’s dinner dance in an official capacity. The minister and the club declined to comment on an altercation between a freelance photo journalist and a ministerial bodyguard at the event. The photo journalist is unavailable for comment and remains in intensive care.
With its days numbered, the remaining members met for a final tournament at the club’s soon to be sold historic mansion in Colombo 7. The beautifully preserved property was willed to the club in 1923 by its founder, Maternye Slova, an aristocratic Tsarist officer who settled in British Ceylon. Over pre game arracks in the soon to be shuttered ACRRC bar, long time member Mr Burana Pissuballa admitted “I’d rather be dead that see this place become another boutique hotel”. A few minutes into play he got his wish.