Rishikesh KumarAll materialsWrite to the authorAn unprecedented public outrage erupted in Sri Lanka in June over a severe shortage of fuel and a food crisis, resulting in the ouster of the Rajapaksa family from power in July. Thousands of people stormed the president’s residence and government offices, accusing the Rajapaksa family of being responsible for the economic disaster in the country.On Friday, Sri Lanka’s apex court ordered a thorough investigation of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former cabinet ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa.Petitioner Transparency International said that the court has also ordered an investigation into two former central bank governors.Two months have been given by the court for the completion of an audit of the economic decisions taken by the Rajapaksa government and other officials. In particular, a team, put together by the court, will look into the reasons for the delay in seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
The incumbent government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe blames the financial mismanagement of the previous governments for the current crisis — the worst since the nation gained independence from the UK.
Wickremesinghe, appointed as President in July with the help of Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, has been seeking debt restructuring with creditors, including India, China, and Japan, to secure the release of funds under a $2.9 billion staff-level agreement with the IMF.As Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves dwindled, shortages of essentials such as fuel, medicine, and cooking gas sparked massive unrest, resulting in the ouster of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from power in July. Gotabaya fled to Thailand and stayed in Singapore for a brief period before returning to the island nation last month.