Travel ban on MR, Basil further extended

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The overseas travel ban imposed on former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa was further extended, to 11 August, by the Supreme Court on Wednesday (3).

The travel ban was extended after the petition filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and three others, against the two politicians, was taken up for consideration.

The TISL on 17 June filed a petition in the public interest praying the Court to restrict the overseas travel of six respondents, including Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, former Governor of the Central Bank W.D. Lakshman, former Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal, and former Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle, as interim measures during the pendency of the case. 

However, the Petitioners on 11 July, following the escalation of violence islandwide, after attacks on Galle Face protesters on 9 May and the assurance given by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that he would resign, filed a Motion requesting
Court to provide an urgent date to support the Petition.

In pursuant to the Petition, the Motion sought a restraining order against former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Governors of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Prof. W.D. Lakshman and former Secretary of the Treasury S.R. Attygala from travelling abroad without the approval of the Court until investigations into the factors leading to the current economic crisis are investigated.

It was stated that respondents named in the petition are directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, default on foreign loan repayments and the current state of the economy of Sri Lanka.

They thereby prayed that the respondents be held accountable for their illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable acts or omissions which culminated in the current economic crisis.

The Petitioners concluded submissions on Wednesday (3), whilst the Petition filed parallel to the said Petition by Attorney-at-law Upul Jayasuriya will be taken up on 10 August and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will support the case and make their submissions on the same date.

Further, counsel appearing on behalf of the former Prime Minister and former Finance Minister will make their submissions on the objections on 31 August and 2 September.

By Faadhila Thassim