Make their names public | Daily News

Make their names public

Even though the revelation made by drug kingpin Mohamed Najim Mohamed Imran, alias Kanjipani Imran, close associate and partner in crime of underworld Godfather Makandure Madhush, now in the custody of the Dubai Police, that several politicians and police officers had maintained close links with the ace criminal and number one narcotics distributor, is not a groundbreaking disclosure, no stone should be left unturned by the authorities to get to the bottom of the whole affair.

This is because, as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe once opined, it is important to break the chain in the entire narcotics distribution network, if the problem is to be effectively tackled. If, as Imran confessed, politicians and police officers are deeply involved with Madhush how, pray, is this chain going to be severed. One recalls how a drugs container was ordered to be released from the Customs on the intervention of the country's second highest political authority, no less, during a previous regime. Isn’t this ample proof of the extent to which the problem had grown?

According to our main story in yesterday's edition, Imran, who had come out with a clean breast before his interrogators, after being deported from Dubai, where he had attended a party thrown by Madhush, claimed the latter had also owned properties and businesses, including a tourist hotel, all of which were still being run by his acolytes. Madhush had amassed massive wealth including land and properties in many parts of the country including in posh Colombo addresses. Imran had disclosed the names of many politicians and police officers- both serving and retired- who were said to be in close contact with the fugitive.

The question that has to be asked first is how the drug lord was able to purchase valuable property and start businesses without standing the test of scrutiny of relevant authorities. We say this because the income earned by individuals or parties come under strict surveillance by all branches of the State involved in monitoring such income. Even banks question customers as to the source of their income.

Hence, purchases of land, the extent to which Madhush had acquired, could in no way have escaped the attention of the Land Registry officers. The acquisition of houses, luxury vehicles including SUVs and the establishment of businesses are thus subject to close scrutiny vis-a-vis the source of wealth. How then did Madhush come to own lands, properties, businesses, including a tourist hotel without escaping the dragnet of the tax authorities and all other officials defies explanation?

Therefore, the only plausible answer to this conundrum lies in the connections Madhush had developed with politicians and top police officers. Didn't we see some of our top officers of the law enforcement and politicians taking the grand pledge the other day led by the President and Prime Minister to collectively see the back of the narcotics menace from this country? How many among that lot had contacts with the ace criminal, if Imran is to be believed? The Dubai authorities have made known that they were considering deporting Madhush to Sri Lanka to stand trial. If so are we going to see a huge can of worms being opened? At least one MP from the Joint Opposition has admitted knowing Madhush, albeit only as a constituent of his electorate.

It is incumbent that the names of all politicians and police officers involved with Madhush be made public, if the battle against narcotics, and, what is more, the solemn pledge taken by the country's leaders to save the country from the drug menace, is to have any meaning. For far too long have the public been led up the garden path in this regard. First, there was the firm pledge made at the highest level that all the names of the bond racketeers will be disclosed. There was also the promise made to unravel the plot to assassinate the President and former Defence Secretary with names and dates, within a specific time frame which has now long elapsed. There was also a state minister, who is always in the news, who pledged to provide a list of ministers and MPs who are into cocaine, which the public are still waiting with bated breath to find out. It was former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who started the trend by promising to disclose the UNP personage who tried to bribe her with a massive amount of money, during the 1994 Presidential election campaign.

This, no doubt, is a matter for serious consideration. It amounts to harbouring thieves and the corrupt. The President's single minded purpose towards eradicating the narcotics menace, no doubt, will be greatly appreciated by the public. However if the problem is to be eradicated, root and branch, he should go the whole hog and identify the exact sources helping the narcotics business to thrive. If not, this will only amount to a half-hearted effort to tackle the narcotics behemoth which has spread its tentacles to every nook and corner with the apparent connivance of politicians and law enforcement officers.


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