Case takes surprising turn as minister claims credit for exposing racket PNB drug dealing:
Posted on July 19th, 2020

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

July 19, 2020, 9:51 pm


Ongoing investigation into some officers and men of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) dealing in heroin, has taken an unexpected turn with SLPP Gampaha District heavyweight Prasanna Ranatunga claiming that the Minuwangoda police made the initial breakthrough on information provided by him. 

In a letter to Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne, Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Minister Ranatunga has reminded the Acting Police Chief that he passed vital information regarding the Minuwangoda underworld and the PNB link, to him over the phone on June 8, 2020, in the presence of the OIC, Minuwangoda.  

The Minuwangoda police on June 12 arrested a person identified as Chaminda who had received nearly 90 kilos of heroin from a Sub Inspector attached to the PNB now in remand.

Minister Ranatunga has claimed that major heroin distribution network based in Yatiyana came to light following his intervention, which paved the way for major success in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s campaign against the underworld. According to Minister Ranatunga, he summoned a meeting at the Vijaya Mangala Pirivena, Yatiyana in the wake of a spate of complaints received by him from villagers regarding heroin distribution network.

 Police headquarters stepped up investigations into the PNB-underworld operation after Attorney General Dappula de Livera advised Acting IGP to expedite investigations. The unprecedented meeting took place in the presence of Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis a few days after the arrest of Chaminda, brother of a person on Minister Ranatunga’s staff.

Minister Ranatunga assured the Acting IGP that he never interfered in the investigation.

Minister Ranatunga requested the Police Chief to set the record straight as his opponents were engaged in a propaganda campaign on both mainstream and social media propagating the lie he was behind the heroin distribution network. One-time Chief Minister of the Western Province said that those contesting the August 5 parliamentary polls were seeking an advantage at his expense. 

Alleging that a big time heroin distribution network had been set up in the Minuwangoda area at the onset of yahapalana administration in 2015, Minister Ranatunga requested the Acting IGP to take tangible measures against those propagating lies.

 So far, the police have arrested about 20 police officers and men in connection with the racket. More than half of them have been remanded while the rest held under Detention Orders. Police headquarters recently announced that death penalty would be sought for those law enforcement officers found guilty of dealing in heroin.

Addressing a public gathering at Ja-ela on Friday (17), Minister Ranatunga alleged that some of those PNB personnel who had been arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation received presidential honours during Maithripala Sirisena’s tenure as the President.

Declaring that all those who were contesting the August 5 polls on the Pohottuwa ticket weren’t members of the party, Minister Ranatunga claimed that he was being targeted by beneficiaries of Central Bank-Perpetural Treasuries robberies and Ranjan Ramanayake, former UNPer contesting Gampaha District on the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) ticket.

Minister Ranatunga alleged that the yahapalana government turned a blind eye to Minuwangoda heroin ring. Minister Ranatunga claimed that heroin stocks had been moved in vehicles displaying Sathosa logo. The minister questioned what really happened to ship loads of heroin apprehended over the past several years. The Gampaha District lawmaker alleged that those who had been involved in narcotics ‘business’targeted him.

Sources close to the investigation told The Island that the sheer scale of the PNB-underworld operation was astonishing. Sources said that only a small part of heroin supplied by the Sub Inspector to Chaminda had been recovered so far though nearly ten vehicles belonging to arrested persons were taken in. Investigators have also located nearly 20 plots of land acquired by rogue police personnel from their illegal earnings from drug dealings.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress