(Adds details, quotes)
By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal
COLOMBO, March 22 (Reuters) - The director-general of Sri
Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday that
he had tendered his resignation out of "principle", the third
top SEC official to resign in the last 16 months.
Hareendra Dissa Bandara, a finance professor, did not give a
"I have handed over the resignation letter," Dissa Bandara,
who has been in the job since April, told Reuters. "I will
resign with effect from May 27 and the resignation is based on
my principles and the present set-up."
He declined to comment further.
SEC chairman Nalaka Godahewa said he could not understand
"I can't see a rationale behind his resignation as his term
contract is to end on May 31," Godahewa told Reuters.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also finance minister,
appointed Godahewa as chairman of the SEC in August following
the resignation of Tilak Karunaratne.
Karunaratne said he had been under pressure after investors
under investigation for market manipulation had made false
allegations against him.
Karunaratne's predecessor, Indrani Sugathadasa, resigned in
December 2011 saying she wanted to "uphold her principles"
barely a month after her deputy was moved amid broker complaints
that tougher regulation was hurting stock market prices.
Analysts and brokers have said tough regulations will be
difficult to enforce as some politically influential investors
are powerful enough to lobby against any regulatory
The SEC has been heavily criticised by some market players,
who have claimed the stock exchange is over-regulated and blamed
this for a 20 percent drop in the index in the first eight
months of last year.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)