IGP, police brass at drug baron’s bash

by Shamindra Ferdinando
Red faces abound at police headquarters following the recent raid of the premises of a man law enforcers say is one of the country’s leading drug barons when detectives found a video tape and photographs of police brass including the IGP who were guests at the five-star birthday bash of the suspect’s infant daughter.

Police raided a luxury home in Polgasowita following the recent arrest of two men described as the drug kings associates with over two-and-half kilograms of heroin.

Following these arrests at Mulleriyawa, police raided the luxury home at Polgasowita belonging to the main suspect and found a video tape and photographs of the birthday bash of the suspect’s infant daughter at a 5-star hotel in Colombo demonstrating that several high ranking policemen and their wives had been guests at the party, police said.

The 35-year old wanted man, now on the run, is considered a major player in the lucrative narcotic trade getting his supplies from India. The ongoing investigation will also cover his possible links with the LTTE.

Police sources said that among guests at the birthday party were a recently retired DIG in charge of a range, a recently retired SSP and his wife and even the IGP T.E. Anandaraja. The police chief is out of the country and was not available for comment.

Investigators say that several policemen serving in Colombo, lawyers and businessmen involved in shady deals were present at the party where the music was provided by a leading band.

There is suspicion that the wanted man had fled, possibly after being tipped off by a policeman following the Mulleriyawa arrests. Police have arrested a youth working for the suspect who first denied the connection but later admitted the wanted man had been in contact with him over the phone ordering him to recover the incriminating photographs and the video tape of the birthday party.

According to a police spokesman the IGP is now in Spain representing the Sri Lanka police force ate Interpol’s annual general assembly.

An authoritative police official said that the police brass had probably attended the party without knowing the background of the host. "There is no doubt that they enjoyed his hospitality but that does not mean that they were in his pay,’’ he said.

This source said that if that was the case, the police bosses wouldn’t want to be seen with him at a hotel. But he agreed that the policemen had been suckered.

"All aspects of this case are being investigated. We have established the involvement of a police inspector in the heroin trade and will be making an arrest soon,’’ sources close to the investigation said.

The suspect was known to regularly peddle influence on behalf of junior policemen seeking his assistance to intervene with superiors to get transfers or cancel transfer orders.