Sri Lanka: SC petition seeks travel restrictions on Rajapaksa brothers, others

Colombo: A petition has been filed in Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court seeking an interim order restraining former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and other influential officials of the Rajapaksa regime from fleeing the country without the prior approval of the apex court, according to a media report on Tuesday.

The case was filed in the apex court as former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, 71, was turned back at the Colombo airport on Tuesday as he attempted to leave the country through the VIP terminal.

The petition filed by Sri Lankan swimmer and coach Julian Bolling, former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne, global civil society organisation Transparency International and entrepreneur Jehan Canaga Retna came amidst mounting anger against the powerful Rajapaksa family for mishandling the worst economic crisis in the island nation.

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The petitioners also sought an order to take legal action against those responsible for financial irregularities and mismanagement of the Lankan economy, news portal reported.

Besides Mahinda Rajapaksa, the petition urged travel restrictions on Basil Rajapaksa, former Central Bank governors Ajith Nivard Cabraal and W D Lakshman, and former finance secretary S R Atygalle.

The petitioners requested the apex court to fix the hearing for July 14, since there is a grave urgency involved in the matter.

The petitioners claimed that they have been reliably informed that some of the persons named in the plea may leave the country.

Meanwhile, the employees of SriLankan Airlines withdrew from their duties from noon in a bid to prevent responsible officials involved in the country’s present crisis from leaving, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa tried to leave the crisis-hit island nation, a day before Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is expected to publicly announce President Rajapaksa’s resignation to the nation.

President Rajapaksa signed on Monday his resignation letter, dated for July 1, and it was later handed over to a senior government official who will hand it over to the Parliament Speaker, the Daily Mirror reported.

Basil, a US passport holder, resigned as finance minister in early April as street protests intensified against shortages of fuel, food and other necessities and quit his seat in parliament in June.

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