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Ex-president Rajapaksa’s son arrested in Sri Lanka

PTI Colombo | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 30, 2016

FILE PHOTO- Mahinda Rajapaksa   -  The Hindu

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 27-year-old son was arrested today along with four other people over money laundering allegations.

Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the second son of ex-strongman Rajapaksa, was arrested and quizzed this morning by the police’s Financial Crimes Division (FCID) at the Sri Lankan Navy headquarters, a navy spokesman said.

He and four others have been arrested on money laundering allegations, police said in a statement.

All the five accused were produced in the Kaduwela Magistrate Court and remanded into judicial custody till February 13. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was also present in court as Yoshitha was sent to judicial custody.

Yoshitha, who is a navy officer, is the first immediate family member of former President Rajapaksa to be arrested since his shock defeat at the hands of Maithripala Sirisena in the polls last year.

He was quizzed in connection with TV channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) which had close links with the Rajapaksa sons.

CSN was controversially handed over Sri Lankan cricket’s television broadcast rights under the Rajapaksa regime. The broadcast rights had been the preserve of the state television until then.

Nishantha Ranatunga, who was CSN’s CEO, was also among those arrested. He was also the Secretary of the Cricket governing body.

Sri Lanka witnessed a huge political change in the beginning of last year when Sirisena trounced Rajapaksa in the January 8 presidential race, ending his 10—year—rule.

Rajapaksa in August tried to stage a dramatic comeback as prime minister as Sri Lanka voted to elect a 225—member Parliament.

However, Rajapaksa’s hopes were dashed as Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) won a closely- fought election to form a national unity government.

Apart from Yoshitha, Rajapaksa has two other sons —— Namal Rajapaksa, who is the eldest, and Rohith.

Published on January 30, 2016
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