Rajapaksa's Brother Arrested in Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa's Brother Arrested in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police today arrested former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's younger brother Basil in connection with an alleged land transaction involving money laundering, police said.

Basil, a former economic development minister during his brother's 10-year rule, was produced before a court in the southern town of Matara which granted him conditional bail after impounding his passport.

He is currently on bail in another case of alleged misappropriation of state funds after serving several months in prison and the court hearing is still taking place.

The Rajapaksa family has faced many charges of financial and public property irregularities since his defeat to the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena in January last year.

The family has dismissed all charges as a political witch hunt.

The former president's younger son Yoshitha was also remanded over money laundering charges. He has also been released on bail.

Rajapaksa in his May Day speech said the entire family is to be put in jail by the current government in acts of political revenge.

His son also accused the government of carrying out a political witch-hunt and said they have been facing such "harassment" from a long time.

"We have been facing this kind of harassment for a long time now. This is nothing surprising. The government fears us more so after yesterday's big crowd that was seen at our May Day rally," Namal Rajapaksa, an MP, and the elder son of the former strongman told reporters last week.

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