A prized catch | Daily News

A prized catch

The spectacular arrest of notorious underworld criminal cum narcotics trafficker Makandure Madush in a joint operation conducted by the STF and Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) with the assistance of the Dubai police at a Dubai hotel, hopefully will put an end to or at least keep in check the massive flow of narcotics into the country witnessed in recent times.

It is well known that Madush was the chief local link in a sophisticated international drug running network that had spread its tentacles to Sri Lanka. It is also claimed that the spate of drug related turf wars fought in the open resulting in the macabre killings of rival gang members was a result of the ‘remote control’ operation of the narcotics business by Madush from Dubai. He was in fact the most wanted man in Sri Lanka for whose arrest even an Interpol warrant was out.

It is now left to the Sri Lankan Government to do its utmost to seek the extradition from Dubai of this high profile criminal to stand trial here for the killings of rival operatives and also innocents ordered from abroad. Along with Madush, the police have also arrested a well known local singer and his son as well as a teledrama actor. This is not the first time that local artistes were found to have links with the drugs underworld going on to demonstrate the invasion of narcotics into the entertainment industry. It was only the other day that a “Facebook” party was raided by police where over 80 participants, including six women, were arrested by police, in Hingurakgoda. Needless to say drugs are in free use at such shindigs.

No doubt, it was President Sirisena’s initiative taken to rid the country of the narcotics menace that spurred the police to act with added vigour to net in the country’s number one drug lord in a foreign country. Now a mopping up operation is called for. The police, no doubt, will subject Madush to an extensive interrogation which could reveal the identity of his local agents. The next course of action should be to go after these agents and bust the entire narcotics distribution network. President Sirisena, no doubt, would be happy to leave behind a legacy of having eradicated the narcotics menace root and branch from this country.

It is however a cause for regret that at a time when the police has made a prized catch in the form of the arrest of the country’s premier narcotics operative there is dissension and disenchantment among the rank of file of the Police Service over the recent distribution of rewards for drug detection work. A majority of the policemen in the lower ranks were aggrieved that those who risked their lives in carrying out detections were ignored, and, instead, recipients were mostly high ranking officers who remained in their air-conditioned rooms. This injustice had even been brought to the notice of the President. If true, this can seriously hamper the all-out war that has currently been put in motion to eradicate the narcotics menace, for nothing can be more demoralizing to a police officer to see the fruits of his labour being enjoyed by others.

A full inquiry is called for into this whole matter and only those deserving must be rewarded for their work carried out at grave personal risk. The President himself has cautioned the Police high-ups against transferring any police officer at the behest of politicians or drug racketeers. Hence, the low ranked officers have no need to fear being ‘disciplined’ as a result of carrying out drug detections and rubbing on the wrong side of powerful personages.

There is also a case for increasing the quantum of rewards to police personnel taking into account the risks involved, when one considers the gruesome nature of killings by the narcotics underworld. Such rewards should always be accompanied by promotions. This no doubt will be a strong incentive for the policemen to go after the narcotics traffickers with added vigour. Also, more personnel should be given training in drug detection work. Here too the President was assured of support from both the Philippines and Singapore leaders during his recent visits to these countries. They both promised to share the methods and expertise of their anti-narcotics agencies with Sri Lanka.

It is time that the Government goes at full tilt in its anti- narcotics operations before the drugs evil take a firm hold on the country. No politician and persons of influence should be allowed to interfere in police operations against narcotics. We say this because there are bound to be attempts to let the arrested drug lord off the hook. This should not be allowed to happen. Instances abound of politicians not only attending parties thrown by drug barons but also allowing drug operatives to evade the law. It was a politician notorious for his public antics who saw off the well known drug lord Kudu Naufer at the Bandaranaike International Airport sometime ago. A close vigil is of paramount importance to ensure that no repetition takes place.


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