Hell bent on safeguarding the misdeeds of ex-Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to gag the media for a second time by raising a privilege issue in Parliament against local media.
Wickremesinghe who has since coming to power in January last year, attacked the media from time to time, and threatened to even send journalists home, has ordered his wingman, State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe to raise a privilege issue in Parliament against the local media which has been reporting extensively on the COPE proceedings and the COPE report in connection to the Central Bank Treasury Bond scam.
Senasinghe under the orders of Wickremesinghe is leading the campaign even in the COPE to protect Mahendran. Last year, Senasinghe also filed a petition seeking an interim order preventing the publication or circulation of the COPE sub-committee report on the Central Bank bond issue. The Colombo District Court issued an enjoining order soon after Senasinghe filed for it.
Wickremesinghe is reported to have been very annoyed that many of the newspapers, including several private television channels which is supportive of him has been reporting negatively against Mahendran and the Central Bank Treasury Bond scam.
“The Prime Minister is looking at ways to intimidate and gag the media from reporting on this crucial report, which is negative to Mahendran, and he is also looking at raising a privilege issue in Parliament against the media,” a highly placed source told the Colombo Telegraph.
Yesterday, the Colombo Telegraph exclusively reported the recommendations of the COPE report on the Central Bank Treasury Bond issue, where the COPE report by its Chairman Sunil Handunetti has implicated Mahendran for being directly responsible in the scam. The report has been endorsed by the majority of the members except for the UNP MPs in the committee.
The treasury bond scam resulted in Sri Lanka losing Rs. 1.6 billion, but Perpetual Treasuries Limited which is linked to Arjun Aloysius, the son in law of Mahendran recorded a profit of Rs. 5.1 billion for the year that ended in March 2016, an increase of 430% in profits, in comparison to last year.