By Sandun A Jayasekera
The prime suspect of the Central Bank bond scam case Arjuna Mahendran has changed his name and living in Singapore under a different name safely and happily, former President Maithripala Sirisena claimed yesterday.
Trouble between me and the yahapalana government started with the Central Bank bond scam. If I did not appoint a Presidential Commission, if I did not attempt to get to the bottom of the fraud and swept it under the carpet
He added that when Interpol was on the verge of apprehending him in March 2019, after issuing a red notice for the biggest financial fraud in history of Sri Lanka involving the Central Bank bond issue, a few people who were highly influential and powerful in the Yahapalana government told Interpol that the allegations against Mahendran were not financial fraud, but politically motivated, and therefore he must not be arrested and deported.
In a shocking exposure yesterday at the SLFP party office, former President Sirisena told media that he was revealing this information for the first time because the people of this country should know about it.
“The trouble between me and the yahapalana government started with the Central Bank bond scam. If I did not appoint a Presidential Commission, if I did not attempt to get to the bottom of the fraud and swept it under the carpet, there would not have been any animosity between me and the leaders of the yahapalana government,” Mr. Sirisena said.
The Sri Lankan government prepared a comprehensive report that consisted all evidence obtained from the Presidential Commission, CID, Attorney General’s Department and other law enforcement agencies and individuals against Arjuna Mahendran. They all were concrete evidence against him and sufficient enough to arrest and deport him. Based on that report, Interpol had issued a red notice on Mahendran and was about to deport him. But Interpol decided against it after the false report sent by yahapalana government hierarchy saying that he was a political victim, the former President said.
When insisted by the media to disclose the names of those who thwarted the deportation of Mahendran, Mr. Sirisena said he could not specifically revealed their names because all Sri Lankans knew who they are.
“Should I tell you who handpicked Mahendran as the Governor of Central Bank in 2015, despite vehement protests by me and cabinet members in 2015? Should I tell you who took over the Central Bank from the Finance Ministry and brought it under a different Ministry? Should I tell you who shared the ill lucre running to billions of rupees raised by the illegal selling and buying of treasury bonds with the inside information given by the CB itself? Mr. Sirisena questioned.
Those who were involved in the bond scam became frightened if Mahendran was brought back and produced before the courts, he would expose all those who had involved in the bond scam, how it happened and who shared the ill gotten money, he said.
Mr. Sirisena vowed that the SLFP would pursue this matter and bring all the criminals involved in the bond scam under a strong government formed under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after the next election.
“We will not give up our efforts to restore justice. We are confident that under the next government led by President Rajapaksa, we would be able to bring back Mahendran from Singapore or from wherever he is living and expose all the wrongdoers who were involved in the Central Bank bond scam,” he stressed.
Those who were involved in the bond scam became frightened if Mahendran was brought back and produced before the courts, he would expose all those who had involved in the bond scam