Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Wednesday barred former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal from leaving the crisis-hit country till August 2, extending an overseas travel ban that was imposed till July 28.
The petition against them was filed by a group including former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne, former Sri Lanka swimming champion Julian Bolling, Jehan Kanagaratna and Transparency International Sri Lanka, according to news portal Colombo Gazette.
The petitioners claimed that the three persons were directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, its debt default and the current economic crisis.
On July 15, Sri Lanka’s apex court had barred the trio from leaving the country till July 28, the report said. That ban has now been extended till August 2, it added.
Earlier this month, Basil was prevented from leaving Sri Lanka following protests from passengers and officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport here in Colombo.
The former Finance Minister attempted to leave the airport lounge, before being spotted by passengers who began protesting. Eventually immigration officers stepped in and stopped him from leaving the country, amidst unprecedented anti-government protests.
Mahinda and Basil’s brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former Sri Lankan President, arrived in Singapore on July 14 on a private visit from the Maldives after he fled his country to escape a popular uprising against his government's economic mismanagement.
He first fled to the Maldives on July 13 and from there he proceeded to Singapore the next day. Rajapaksa has been issued a new visa by Singapore, extending his stay in the country till August 11.
His visit pass has been extended by 14 days, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over the worst economic crisis and many blame the former government led by Rajapaksa and his family for mishandling the island nation's economy.
The government declared bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honour its international debt. The island nation of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.
Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.