Ex-strongman Rajapaksa's son bail plea rejected in Lanka

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 27-year-old son, who is facing money laundering charges, was further remanded in custody for two weeks after his bail plea was rejected by a court on Thursday.

PTI| Updated: Feb 11, 2016, 23:07 PM IST

Colombo: Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 27-year-old son, who is facing money laundering charges, was further remanded in custody for two weeks after his bail plea was rejected by a court on Thursday.

Yoshitha Rajapaksa, a navy lieutenant and the second son of Rajapaksa, was arrested last month along with four others and remanded in custody for nearly two weeks in connection with financial discrepancies reported at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN).

Yoshitha, Nishantha Ranatunga, Rohan Welivita and two others were produced in court today when the Kaduwela Magistrate rejected their bail pleas and ordered them to be remanded in custody until February 25, the Colombo Page reported.

The five suspects have been charged under the Money Laundering Act over the financial discrepancies reported at CSN.

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, who was CSN's CEO, was also among those accused. He was also the Secretary of the Cricket governing body. Nishantha is the brother of the world cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who is a minister in the Maithripala Sirisena government.

Yoshitha was quizzed by police's Financial Crimes Division (FCID) at the Sri Lankan Navy headquarters on January 30 over his involvement in the management of the private television company.

Former President Rajapaksa had accused his successor Sirisena's government of exacting political "revenge" on him.

The FCID launched investigations on March 15 last year, acting on a complaint lodged by the Citizens Movement for Just Society based on the charges that Carlton Sports Network had engaged in money laundering and misused public property.

Earlier this month, Rajapaksa's wife was also quizzed by investigators over allegations of fraud. Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC) questioned Shiranthi Rajapaksa.

Shiranthi was summoned over allegations that she had instructed the Housing Ministry to provide a house, belonging to the National Housing Development Authority, below the estimated value to her former media coordinating officer.