Shiral says ousted NDDCB Chairman’s claims baseless


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Presidential aide and attorney-at-law Shiral Lakthilake yesterday alleged that some of the claims made by Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board were baseless.

Lakthilake stressed that a list containing the names of politicians involved in heroin trade which Dr. Samarasinghe claimed was in hands hadn’t been made available to any responsible agency.

Lakthilake also rejected claims that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had intervened on behalf of Dr. Samarasinghe, who was replaced retired Senior DIG Sirisena Herath at the behest of President Maithripala Sirisena. The lawyer pointed out that former Law and Order and Prisons Reforms Tilak Marapana had ordered Dr. Samarasinghe’s removal and President Maithripala Sirisena had nothing to do with it.

The attorney-at-law was on live Sirasa political programme Pathikada yesterday.

The former UNP Western Provincial Council member said that the government had named Prof. Ravindra Fernando as the new head of the NDDCB.

Appearing on Sirasa early this week, Dr. Samarasinghe alleged that his life was under threat due to recent revelations made by him regarding those politicians involved in heroin trade. Responding to interviewer Lakna Amandhi, Dr. Samarasinghe said that he wouldn’t release the list until the government assured him of adequate security.

Dr. Samarasinghe said he was in touch with Colombo based diplomatic missions in a bid to secure protection. He was speaking in his capacity as the NDDCB chief.

Dr. Samarasinghe said that he would reveal the list soon after receiving a favourable response from a diplomatic mission. He claimed that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government would collapse in case he revealed the list. The official said that the identities of those politicians engaged in heroin trade had to be protected to save the government.

The outspoken official alleged that the majority of those in Parliament were drug dealers.

However, pressed by the interviewer, Dr. Samarasinghe admitted that the list had been prepared on the basis of a survey and not so far subject to police or any other investigation.

The then NDDCB chief alleged that the heroin menace couldn’t be eradicated in spite of the recent arrest of Welle Suda and Siddique because there were others involved the business, and some of them were in Parliament.

Dr. Samarasinghe declined an offer by Sirasa for an opportunity to name the culprits via the Maharaja network. He refused to do so claiming that he did not want to endanger his life as well as those of his family members.

He asked for security to prevent him from being killed on the streets.

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