By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
Extradition requests made from Singapore, along with the two Red Notices for the arrest of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, issued through INTERPOL, are pending a favourable response, the Government confirmed to Parliament yesterday.
Mahendran, who is wanted in connection with the investigation into the Treasury bond scam, holds Singaporean citizenship. According to reports, he fled Sri Lanka for Singapore soon after the irregularities in the Central Bank bond transactions came to light, and the commencement of the investigations from different establishments.
Responding to a supplementary question, Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana told Parliament that Red Notices were issued on two occasions with his Ministry providing necessary information.
Unhappy with the Government’s inability to bring back Mahendran to book, despite extradition laws passed in Parliament and agreements signed with foreign governments, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said: “We have been talking about an issue having appointed a foreigner as the head of one of our important public institutions. Arjuna Mahendran, who was the Governor of the Central Bank and responsible for the bond scam that took place on 27 February 2015, has still not been arrested. He was appointed despite the objections raised by Cabinet. No point of us passing the extradition laws in this Parliament, if we are unable to get him back to Sri Lanka,” he charged.
Clarifying the action of INTERPOL, Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne held Udayanga Weerathunga was issued a Red Notice for arrest through INTERPOL well before Mahendran, but no action was taken by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for his extradition to Sri Lanka.
Following an investigation by a Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe the controversial Treasury bond issuance, which have taken place soon after the Unity Government came into power, it was revealed that Mahendran in his role as the then-Governor of the Central Bank had given an undue advantage to Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., a company owned by his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius, through sharing price-sensitive information that led to insider trading. According to reports, it has been estimated that a loss exceeding Rs. 11.5 billion had incurred due to the insider trading.