ECONOMYNEXT – The head of the controversial Krrish development, Janaki Siriwardhana, was arrested Friday in connection with a multi-billion-rupee fraud that also involved sex, lies, video tapes and blackmail.
A top police source said Siriwardhana was arrested following extensive investigations into a scam operated by her close associate Thilini Priyamali who is already in remand custody.
Hours before the latest arrest, police investigators said they had evidence that an eye watering 600 million rupees had been given to Wesley Keerthi Kumara, a “kapuwa”, or shaman in Galle by the two women.
The staggering cash was ostensibly the fee for a ritual to boost flagging apartment sales at Krrish, now known as “One Transworks Square,” an investigator said adding that they were flabbergasted by the amount of cash that had changed hands.
“This is the claim, but what was actually taking place was a systematic money laundering operation,” an investigator said asking not to be named.
He said a powerful political figure was known to be a close business associate of Siriwardhana who had directed gullible businessmen and women to Priyamali and her scams.
Former Colombo mayor Azath Salley has lodged a complaint that he was introduced to Priyamali by Janaki Siriwardhana and has been demanding her arrest for weeks.
Businessman Clarence Kumarage who is known to have bought doctorates and knighthoods from dubious organisations has parted with some 750 million rupees believing that he was investing it in a money doubling venture.
Priyamali was allegedly selling dollars at below market price and when greedy businessmen gave her huge amounts to buy more dollars at her unbelievably low rate, she decamped with the cash. Those who came after her were either silenced through blackmail or given fake gold bars.
Buddhist monk Borelle Siri Sumana who warned Kumarage that his cash, stashed in a suit case, was giving out bad vibes and that it should be “invested” with Priyamali was arrested on Thursday on a charge of aiding and abetting financial fraud.
Police believe that they will be able to get at powerful figures behind Priyamali following the arrest of Siriwardhana, the alleged conduit for money laundering transactions.
Both Siriwardhana and Priyamali are known to have been frequent visitors to Temple Trees when Mahinda Rajapaksa was president. Victims have told police they were scammed into thinking that the Rajapaksa family backed them.