Rajapaksa’s son arrested in corruption case

Yoshitha Rajapaksa asked to appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division.

Updated - September 23, 2016 04:07 am IST

Published - January 30, 2016 06:47 pm IST - COLOMBO:

Yoshitha Rajapaksa, a lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Navy and the second son of the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was arrested on Saturday by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division after interrogation for nearly seven hours in a case under a law on money laundering, the police said.

Among the others arrested were Rohan Weliwita, media secretary to the former President, and the chairman of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) that runs a television channel, and Nishantha Ranatunga, former senior executive in the company, and two directors.

Four others who were arrested on Saturday in a case under a money-laundering law, were produced before the Koduwela magistrate. They were remanded for two weeks, police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara told The Hindu .

The interrogation of the former president’s son at the Navy headquarters, where he is attached, ended around 4.30 p.m., according to Navy spokesperson Capt. Akram Alavi.

The other arrested are Rohan Weliwita, media secretary to the ex-president, and chairman of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) that runs a TV channel, and Nishantha Ranatunga, former senior executive in the company, and two directors.

Mr. Ranatunga, who had held the post of Secretary in the Sri Lanka Cricket (earlier known as the Board of Cricket for Sri Lanka), early this month lost in the election for President to Thilanga Sumathipala, Deputy Speaker in Parliament. He is a brother of former cricketer and Minister for Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga. One of the charges against the Rajapaksa regime was that the CSN was favoured in the grant of local cricket broadcasting rights.

The CSN website states that the firm was launched on March 7, 2011 “to provide the Sri Lankan people a quality sports entertainment channel”. A few weeks ago, when the Financial Crimes Investigation Division carried out a search at the CSN office, Mr. Weliwita had accused the government of “persecuting” the channel and “stifling the freedom of expression”.

During April-June, Basil Rajapaksa, one of the brothers of the former president, was under arrest in a case of alleged misappropriation of public funds. In the last nine months, some members of the Rajapaksa family, including the former president, had appeared before various investigating agencies.

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