Suspect PNB Cops Carry Fake Rs 5,000 Notes
By Kavindya Perera
Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Dileepa Peiris yesterday (8) informed Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna, a stock of Rs 5,000 counterfeit currency notes had been taken into custody from the possession of Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officers, who were recently apprehended on charges of being engaged in underhand dealings with big-time drug peddlers.
He made this submission when the case was taken up for hearing before Magistrate Jayaratna. The 12 suspect PNB officers who were arrested on the aforesaid charge as well as the 13th suspect who was nabbed on 7 July were produced in Court yesterday.
The prosecution was represented by ASP of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Meryl Ranjan Lamahewa, and senior officers along with DSG Peiris who appeared for the Attorney General.
Lawyers including Ajith Pathirana and Wasantha Pitigala appeared for the 13 suspect PNB officers.
The prosecution, submitting a progress report to Court, said the Inspector of Police of the PNB, who had eluded the Police in connection with the case, had surrendered to Police on 7 July.
DSG Peiris said five PNB officers along with three civilians who had been apprehended as per the provisions contained in the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act were still being grilled by the CID on detention orders and that overall, 21 suspects had been apprehended in this regard.
He then said CID officers had taken into custody a fake Rs 5,000 note from the possession of the 11th suspect, 26 fake Rs 5,000 notes from the possession of the 10th suspect and a further five fake Rs 5,000 notes. He informed that a probe has to be conducted to verify whether the suspects apprehended had been engaged in the racket of printing fake monetary notes. He explained that a stock of cannabis and one milligram heroin of, six T-56 bullets, a revolver, a few bank cards and gold items had been taken into custody from the possession of the 11th suspect.
He pointed out the suspects had distributed the illegal drugs after having mixed them with other items and had been involved with international smugglers to carry out the racket. Peiris said the suspects had parceled the illegal drugs at a particular house before they themselves had taken into custody some of the stocks of the illegal drugs and proceeded to obtain cash and other rewards for their efforts.
He further informed the suspects had allegedly conducted their smuggling in international waters and had brought firearms into the country enabling them to lead luxurious lives.
He mentioned that some of the vehicles owned by the suspects who are presently detained had already been taken into custody while inquiries had revealed that the suspects had stored the illegal drug stocks in those vehicles.
He added that due to being unable to deposit the ill gotten monies in bank accounts, the suspects had dumped the monies into gunnie bags and drawers and said that a sum of Rs 1.2 million had been recovered from one of the suspects.
The prosecution said that its investigations into the case had revealed that the seventh suspect in the case had purchased property valued at Rs 10 million near the Kottawa entrance to the Southern Highway. He noted that while carrying out raids, the suspect PNB officers had reported directly to its Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and asserted that a separate probe would be conducted to ascertain whether the DIG of the PNB had also been aware of the surreptitious conduct of its corrupt officers and whether the DIG himself had also been covertly engaged in the racket.
The prosecution in its lengthy submission also informed that the Officer In Charge of Court productions of the PNB was also presently being grilled by the CID on a detention order.
Peiris pointed out that the room containing Court productions of the PNB, had already been sealed by ASP Lamahewa and urged Jayaratna to issue an order to the Government Analyst (GA), to submit a report to Court after having inspected the said room.
He then requested Court to grant its approval to detain the 13th suspect over a seven-day period to grill him in connection with the case.
The lawyers who appeared for the suspect PNB officers in general informed the Court that if a suspect is to be arrested according to provisions contained in Sections of the Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance as Amended, the amount of the illegal drugs in possession of the suspect has to be revealed.
They said there cannot be any more Court productions at the PNB room and said that the former Head of the PNB had already been named as a suspect in a manslaughter case.
Taking the lengthy submissions into consideration, Chief Magistrate Jayarathna issued an order to the GA to inspect the room containing Court productions of the PNB and submit a report to her.
She also ordered the CID to submit reports separately to her stating how each of the suspect PNB officers who were nabbed had been linked to the alleged offences.
Court ordered the first suspect to the 12th suspect to be remanded till 21 July and to detain the 13th suspect for a period of one week to interrogate him by the CID in connection with the case.