Sri Lanka tightens the noose on Rajapakse son

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s police Sunday listed allegations against former president Mahinda Rajapakse’s son a day after he was remanded in custody and the family accused the Maithripala Sirisena government of a vendetta.

The Financial Crimes Investigations Department of the police had said on Saturday that Yoshitha Rajapakse was arrested and remanded in custody after questioning him under the Money Laundering Act.

The former president came out of the Kaduwela court house in tears and accused the authorities of making a “vague, one-line allegation” while his brother Gotabhaya Rajapakse accused Sirisena of being “worse than Hitler.”

Spelling out details of allegations against Yoshitha, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said investigations had shown that the 27-year-old navy officer was the “chairman and decision maker of the private Carlton Sports Network (CSN).”

Holding a position in a private firm while serving in the military is a offence that warrants a court marshall.

Police spokesman Gunasekera in a statement listed misappropriation of state funds, violations of the customs ordinance, breach of inland revenue act and the companies act as offences committed by Yoshitha and his company.

It said the CSN had an initial capital of seven million rupees, but it received a capital boost of 2.3 million dollars from an operation of a foreign company operating in Sri Lanka. However, CSN was unable to show the sources of funds raising suspicion that the company had been established as a front for money laundering.

Meanwhile, Gotabhaya Rajapakse told reporters outside the kaduwela court Saturday that the government was behaving like Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

“They are harassing a small boy of 25 years. This is worst than Hitler.”

Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who was publicly accused by former minister Mervin Silva of killing editor Lasantha Wickrematunga in January 2009, is facing possible arrest over several criminal cases, including weapons offences.

Among the four CSN directors arrested on Saturday is Nishantha Ranatunga, a younger brother of Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga who is the Ports minister under Sirisena.

The arrests followed months of investigations into the CSN station, which is also accused of illegally using government equipment and vehicles for its daily operations and failing to pay billions of rupees in taxes. (Colombo/Jan30/2016)