By Saman Indrajith
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that he had not been in contact with former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran since the latter had left the Central Bank.
The PM was responding to a question by Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake, who asked why he could not make a personal effort to bring back the former CB Governor.
“You have had close contacts with Mahendran so much so that you told this House on previous occasion that Mahendran had gone abroad to attend a wedding. As the appointing authority, you have a responsibility to bring him back.”
“Mahendran kept me informed of his foreign visits when he was working under me as the CB Governor. The incumbent CB Governor and other Ministry Officials also do the same. That obligation is not there when they no longer hold the position. I had no contacts with Mahendran even when I went before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to give evidence. It was his habit to change houses from time to time and that is something usual Singapore. I am not aware of his whereabouts and he left the country without my knowledge.”
MP Dissanayake requested the PM to reveal the action taken by the government to arrest former CB Governor Mahendran and ex-diplomats Udayanga Weeratunga and Jaliya Wickramasuriya.
Dissanayake also asked why no action has been taken to freeze the bank accounts and property of Mahendran as the government had done in the case of Udayanga Weeratunga. “The law is being implemented,” replied the PM.
The PM, making a detailed reply on the process of legal action against each of the three individuals, said a formal request has been made asking to issue an Interpol Red Notice against former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US Wickramasuriya and that request was now being processed. He stated a formal request had been made on May 17 to extradite former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, who is now being detained at the UAE.
The Prime Minister said Interpol Red Notice had been issued against former CB Governor Mahendran. He, however, said Singaporean government had informed Sri Lankan authorities that it could not arrest a suspect upon the Interpol red notice as per that country’s laws. “Therefore they have asked us to make a formal request to extradite Mahendran and we have acted accordingly,” he added.