PM Ranil resumes probe against Rajapaksa loyalists

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Ranil Wickremesinghe who stayed on as Sri Lankan PM for the second consecutive term in the recently concluded parliamentary polls, has resumed the investigation against the top officials of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa’s regime is under scrutiny for misappropriation of funds and irregularities in securing several deals and purchases.

The probe was resumed soon after Rajapaksa’s hopes of staging a political comeback and coming to power as prime minister were shattered.

Four loyalists and ministers from Rajapaksa’s government were summoned to the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) of the police on Thursday. Former minister Wimal Weerawansa, who is a prominent aide of Rajapaksa was also summoned to record a statement. Weerawansa’s wife too was not spared.

“Mr Weerawansa was questioned today over his assets,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Rajapaksa’s Governor of Central Bank, Ajith Cabraal along with his loyalist Udaya Gammanpila was called for questioning on Friday.

Cabraal was reportedly quizzed about the losses made in the petroleum purchases in 2006 while Gammanpila’s was grilled over a share-deal complaint, lodged by an Australian.

The opposition in Sri Lanka has criticised the investigation done by the FCID and has called it a political witch-hunt to corner one-time Sinhala strongman Rajapaksa.

The probe was halted from mid-July in the run up to the parliamentary polls on the advice of the Commissioner of Elections.

Ahead of the polls, the new government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had promised to eliminate corruption and thereby cleanse public life.

In the past, Rajapaksa’s wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa, son Namal and brothers Basil and Gotabhaya have all been questioned as part of the investigation.

Basil Rajapaksa, who was a powerful Economic Development Minister between 2010-2015 was taken into custody in April for alleged misappropriation of funds.