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Rajapaksa administration officials grilled, ex-prez cries foul

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo: Amid claims by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the new Sri Lankan government is carrying out a “political witch hunt” against his associates, more senior officials of his administration were grilled by investigators today.

P B Jayasundera, Rajapaksa’s top bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry during his nearly decade-long rule, was interrogated by police’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) today.

“Dr Jayasundera was questioned today over the alleged wrong doings in the oil hedging transaction which had caused a loss of 200 million dollars to the government,” Police spokesman and Assistant Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera said.

On the same subject, Rajapaksa’s governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal was also quizzed last week along with the then chief of the state petroleum entity Asantha de Mel. De Mel, a former Sri Lanka Test cricketer and former Chairman of Selectors, headed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation under Rajapaksa.

“What is happening today is a political witch hunt. They are taking revenge from innocent officials on false accusations,” Rajapaksa told a religious gathering yesterday at Bandaragama, south of here.

“Many false stories are being spread about our bank accounts and other false alleged frauds,” Rajapaksa said.

Since Maithripala Sirisena’s opposition coalition defeated Rajapaksa in the January 8 presidential election, several former administration bigwigs including the Rajapaksa siblings who held high positions under the previous administration have been subject to investigations.

In the magistrate court in the Colombo suburb of Kaduwela yesterday, Basil Rajapaksa, a younger brother of Mahinda and the Minister of Economic Development in the previous government, failed in an attempt to prevent his arrest upon his return from the US.

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