Heroin haul: Now, JHU tells IGP to probe PM and aides


By Madura Ranwala

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has said the massive drug smuggling bid from Karachi was a national crime and urged the IGP to conduct a full scale investigation and prosecute the culprits.

Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told The Island yesterday that JHU leader Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera had, on Thursday, written to the IGP N. K. Illangakoon urging him to conduct a full scale investigation into the attempt to smuggle into the country a large stock of heroin from Pakistan as it was a ‘national crime’. He has urged the police chief to probe Premier D.M. Jayaratne and his aides accused of having issued a letter to the Customs seeking the release of the container with heroin.

The shipment reached Colombo on June 6, though it was opened only three months later.

The Thera had also requested the IGP to apprehend all the suspects connected to the smuggling attempt.

Asked why Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne’s coordinating secretary, Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe, accused of allegedly directing the Customs to consider reducing demurrage charges on the container that brought in the heroin, on a request made by Gampola Urban Council member Tharanga Wittachchi,

had not bee arrested, he said the Police Narcotic Bureau

was conducting investigations and the secretary in question and the urban council member would be questioned.

When repeatedly asked why the PM’s secretary and Urban councilor had not been arrested and questioned, the police spokesman said that he would not be in a position to answer that question until Inspector General of Police returned to the country.

The PM’s secretary has gone on record as saying that he first met the urban councillor concerned, Wittachchi, when he worked with the Prime Minister in Gampola.

Wittachchi has said that he wanted to help a person whom he had met and become friendly with while having a meal overseas. He said that the person was a Pakistani national, who introduced himself as an importer and exporter of spices and tea.

PNB sources said that they had given statements and they had only written letters seeking to facilitate the waiving of demurrage charges and the release of a container without knowing its actual content. Therefore, they could not be arrested on that basis, without establishing their involvement in the drug racket.

PNB sources said that they would not hesitate to prosecute the real suspects, big or small, if they came across the man behind the deal and who wanted the deadly narcotic distributed in the country.

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