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A top post for Former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran

Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is strongly tipped to head the government's five-year development programme that's twinned with a plan by Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to create one million jobs within that period.

Mahendran earlier stepped out of contention for being re-appointed as the CB Governor pending clearance by a probe by COPE into the controversial CB Bond Issues which alleged improper links his son-in-law's firm had with those issues. 

Signing of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, the Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore, the proposed Economic Agreement with China within the next four years are considered pivotal to the success of the Mahendran-led five year development programme.

Mahendran was a member of the delegation which accompanied Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Singapore. The delegation is expected to be back in Colombo today. It is learnt that the Premier has convened an immediate meeting of a high-powered team of experts at Temple Trees to work out details of the five-year plan.

However, shunning public perception, Wickremesinghe has brought back Mahendran into the Government folds, even before he has been cleared from corruption charges.

Earlier, Wickremesinghe denied allegations that he was protecting Mahendran, and added that he was yet to be proven guilty. Despite, the Auditor General implicating Mahendran in his 1200 page report, clandestine moves are underway by the UNP to jeopardize the independence of the COPE, in an effort to clear Mahendran from any wrong doing with regard to the bond scandal.

Following orders from the UNP leadership, UNP Parliamentarian M. Velu Kumar who was a member of COPE tendered his resignation early this month, to make way for Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe to take Velu Kumar’s seat in the Parliamentary Committee. Soon after the Auditor General handed over his report, several UNP members in their attempt to defend Mahendran had insisted that the report be sent to an independent expert for their opinion on grounds that the Auditor General’s opinion alone cannot be accepted.

In June, the Auditor General complained to COPE that Mahendran, who was the Governor then had refused to provide information pertaining to the bond transactions. Subsequent to the complaint, COPE summoned Mahendran and ordered him to provide all details with regard to the transactions to the Auditor Gener