Saturday, March 19, 2016

Multi-Million Dollar Krrish Deal Haunts Namal

From Colombo Telegraph

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa is coming under increasing pressure from the FCID, this time over the controversial multi-million dollar Krrish deal. Namal, who was summoned to the FCID on Thursday, was interrogated for several hours where he was accused of pocketing between Rs. 70 to 100 million from the deal.

Speaking to reporters, Namal, the eldest son of former PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa said, “today they have found a new issue. First it was about a murder, then it was about money laundering, and now they are questioning me about a certain company that sponsored the Carlton rugby super sevens tournament,” he said.

He however did not explicitly mention the FCID grilled him over the Krrish deal. “They didn’t even know the exact amount; they asked if I had taken money, somewhere between 70 to 100 million. I told them I never did any such thing,” he added.

The US$ 650 million Krrish Tower project which was initiated during former President Rajapaksa’s period has been marred with controversy with allegations of secret payoffs to several VIPs in the country at that time.

Incidentally the drafting of the agreement was reportedly taken over by N R Associates, the legal firm owned by Namal Rajapaksa.

Before coming to power, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was very vociferous about the controversial project and the alleged corruption hovering over the project. At that time he also openly claimed that Namal Rajapaksa was to receive a commission from the deal. Wickremesinghe has however been very silent about the matter since coming to power.

In 2013, Harsha de Silva, the current deputy foreign minister and the UNP spokesman on economic affairs ina column written to the Colombo Telegraph said that it appeared as if the entire project was a hoax and that Parliament was misled both by the minister and the investor. “We demand that the massive tax breaks granted to this investor be cancelled immediately and an impartial investigation be launched in to what exactly happened. The investigation must find out who were behind this transaction and blacklist all such persons so that hereafter Parliament will not be duped by such fly-by-night operators with connections to high places,” he said.

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