'MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS' International

Sri Lankan police arrest former President's brother

Basil Rajapaksa. Photo: Meera Srinivasan

Basil Rajapaksa. Photo: Meera Srinivasan  

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Housing project launched after proper survey: lawyer

In a sharp turn of events, Basil Rajapaksa, former Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development, was arrested on Wednesday evening by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID).



Mr. Rajapaksa, younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a green card holder of the U.S., returned to Colombo on Tuesday to appear before the authorities following a court order and summons of the FCID in a case concerning alleged misappropriation of public funds.



Two others held



Two others – former Secretary of the Economic Development Ministry Nihal Jayatilaka and former Director General of the Divineguma Deparment R.A.A. K. Ranawaka – were also arrested, according to Ruwan Gunasekara, Assistant Superintendent of Police and media spokesperson. “They have been charged under the Offences Against Public Property Act,” he said, adding that there were four complaints against the suspects. The complaints raised a number of issues, which pertained to a housing renovation project for the poor and the distribution of compensation.



They were produced before a magistrate in Kudewala, located about 15 km from here, later in the day and remanded to custody till May 5, Gunasekara said.



According to the former Minister’s lawyer U.R, de Silva, the case concerns the Divineguma Deparment, which handles schemes meant for economic uplift of the poor and comes under the jurisdiction of the Economic Development Ministry. Late last year, the payment of funds was made to beneficiaries under a housing renovation project, which, Mr. de Silva claimed, was launched after a proper survey.



Mr. Rajapaksa, who left the country after his brother lost in the presidential election in January this year, came to the FCID office here at about 11 a,m. on Wednesday. By 4-30 p.m, he was informed that he had been arrested, Mr de Silva said. Dr. Jayatilaka and Mr. Ranawaka, both no longer in government service, were interrogated last month, added Mr. Gunasekara.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 8:09:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/basil-rajapaksa-arrested-for-case-of-misappropriation-of-funds/article7130679.ece

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