Criminal Investigations Department (CID) sleuths yesterday carried out searches for former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and eight suspects wanted in connection with the case related to the Central Bank bond scam, but failed to find them, a senior CID officer said.
He said several locations where they believed Mr Karunanayake would be taking shelter were searched within the day, but the CID could not locate him.
Journalists and photographers who gathered outside Mr Karunanayake’s residence, off the Parliament drive, in Sri Jayawardenepura-Kotte were told by his aides that the former MP might surrender on Tuesday. However, there was no confirmation.
The CID officer said about 25 teams had been deployed to search for the suspects, in line with the arrest warrant and search operations would continue until they were found or they surrendered.
The CID’s Airport detectives have also been alerted about the arrest warrant issued on the suspects.
One of the wanted suspects – Perpetual Treasuries Ltd’s former Director Muthurajah Surendran was arrested by the CID yesterday.
He was produced before Colombo’s Additional Magistrate and remanded until March 18.
On Friday, Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake issued warrants on 10 suspects wanted over the Central Bank bond scam that took place on March 27 and 31, 2016.
The ten suspects are: Mr Karunanayake, the Central Bank’s former governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasures Limited director Arjun Aloysius, PTL’s chief executive Kasun Palisena, PTL’s chairman Geoffrey Aloysius, PTL directors Chithra Ranjan Hulugalle, Muththurajah Surendran and Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa, Central Bank public debt department official Sangarapillai Pathumanathan and Employees Provident Fund official Indika Saman Kumara.Mr. Karunanayake and others face charges under the Criminal Procedure Code over criminal misappropriation, profiting from insider dealing, and market manipulation from two bond auctions totalling Rs 51.89 billion on March 27 and 31 in 2016.
However, the magistrate said there was no need to issue an arrest warrant against the 10th suspect, Buddhika Sarathchandra, who was the former head of the public debt department of the Central Bank as he did not participate in a criminal act by having a conversation with an official of a state bank.
The magistrate said it was apparent that the suspects had acted in a way that would generate profit for the Perpetual Treasuries Limited.
The court ordered warrants after evidence was submitted by Senior Deputy Solicitor General Haripiya Jayasundera, Senior State Counsel Lakmina Girihagama, State Counsel Udara Karunaratne and Chathuri Wijesuriya.
On Friday morning, Magistrate Dissanayake instructed the Attorney General to provide more information on certain suspects before deciding whether arrest warrants should be issued on former minister Karunanayake and 11 others.
A questionnaire was handed to Senior Deputy Solicitor General Jayasundare. She was requested to provide answers in written form to court.
Ms. Jayasundare told court they would be able to obtain answers on behalf of the Attorney General and make submissions, including answers by 2 p.m. The case was called up at 3:30 p.m.
After studying the information provided by the Attorney General, the magistrate said there was sufficient information to issue arrest warrants against the suspects.
The court was told of the allegation that Mr Karunanayake had influenced the three leading state banks — the Bank of Ceylon, the People’s Bank, and the National Savings Bank — from being primary purchasers of Central Bank bonds. The minister had obtained a luxury apartment from profits received from creating an artificial market, making it possible for the first suspect Perpetual Treasuries to play a vital role in bond purchases.
The magistrate said that Mr. Karunanayake had been communicating with suspect Arjun Mahendran and suspect Indika Saman Kumara over the purchase of bonds in favour of Perpetual Treasuries and that it had been clear from evidence given by P.W.D.N.R. Rodrigo, former director of domestic operations of the Central Bank, to the Presidential Commission.
The magistrate said PTL then sold the bonds to the EPF in the secondary market when the EPF was able to buy bonds in the primary market, causing losses and being forced to pay interest on the bonds.
Warrants were issued to arrest Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena for obtaining internal information from the EPF and providing confidential information to PTL, while the directors are to be arrested for aiding and abetting.
Indika Saman Kumara from the EPF and Muththurajah Surendran are to be arrested for providing confidential state information to outside parties, while being employees of state institutions.
SDSG Jayasundare had informed court that the suspects could face charges under Section 386 and 398 of the Penal Code as well as the Public Property Act.