Colombo: Sri Lanka’s former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court through their lawyers that they will not leave the crisis-hit country until the Fundamental Rights petition filed against them is heard on Friday, a media report said on Thursday.
A five-judge bench of Lankan Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Vijith Malalgoda, and Justice LTB Dehideniya are scheduled to hear on Friday the petition against the two members of the erstwhile powerful Rajapaksa family, the Daily Mirror Lanka website reported.
A petition was filed in the apex court as Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was earlier on Tuesday turned back at the Colombo airport as he attempted to leave the country through the VIP terminal.
Basil, 71, tried to leave the bankrupt island nation a day before Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives from where he appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the acting President, escalating political crisis and triggering a fresh wave of protests in the country reeling under the worst financial crisis in decades.
Basil, a US passport holder, resigned as finance minister in early April as street protests intensified against shortages of fuel, food and other necessities and quit his seat in parliament in June.
Basil is being widely held responsible for the country’s worst economic crisis which has heaped misery on the people.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, the patriarch of the Rajapaksa clan, resigned from the post of prime minister on May 9, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office.
Mahinda, 76, was earlier in May barred by a Sri Lankan court from travelling abroad in view of investigations against them for the deadly attack on anti-government protesters in Colombo.
The former prime minister was being protected at the country’s Trincomalee naval base following his resignation from the post.
Wickremesinghe was sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s new prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, days after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned.
Wickremesinghe was on Wednesday appointed as the acting president of the island nation in the absence of Gotabya Rajapaksa who has fled the country amidst the country-wide violence.
The acting president on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country and a curfew in the Western province has been imposed as protesters gathered near his office at Flower Road in Colombo following his appointment as the acting president.
Sri Lanka, a country 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.
Schools have been suspended and fuel has been limited to essential services. Patients are unable to travel to hospitals due to the fuel shortage and food prices are soaring.
Last week, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka is now a bankrupt country.
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