August 17, 2012 04:11 pm
Chairman of the Securities and Exchanges Commission, Thilak Karunaratne has submitted his resignation today, saying he had come under pressure from stock market players under investigation for stock manipulation.
The SEC chief had been pushing investigations into stock market malpractice, including so-called pump-and-dump deals in which investors are lured into apparently cut-price equities.
“I don’t even call them investors. They are crooks. The pressure from those crooks goes elsewhere and then in turn that party is exerting pressure on me,” Karunaratne told Reuters.
Ada Derana had reliably learnt that pressure was being exerted on the former politician by decision makers demanding his resignation from the top seat of the SEC.
Dr. Karunaratne had reportedly mentioned that there is no point in continuing if the regulator does not have the independence to function and execute his duties, sources close to Dr. Tilak Karunaratne had disclosed.
Karunaratne’s resignation was the second in less than nine months after his predecessor, Mrs. Indrani Sugathadasa, left amid complaints from brokers that tougher regulations were hurting stock prices.
Tilak Karunaratne is a former Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member who joined the United National Party (UNP) before joining the Sihala Urumaya. He is also a Chartered Chemist and was the Managing Director of Multiform Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd.
Earlier in November last, amidst a stock market crash in Colombo the then SEC Director General Malik Cader resigned and was later appointed as consultant on Capital Markets by the Finance Ministry. He was followed by Indrani Sugathadasa who also later resigned from the top slot in the SEC.