A shocking revelation | Daily News

A shocking revelation

The detection of over 1,000 mobile phone from the country’s prisons is not only astonishing but also shows the widespread corruption within the entire prison system and the ingrained nature of the malaise.

According to reports a total of 1,102 mobile phones have been recovered from the country’s 28 prisons together with large quantities of heroin. The largest number of mobile phones had been unearthed from the Negombo prison (227).

Here is a golden opportunity for the police to unearth all the necessary information and details about the drugs trade and the people behind it. All they have to do is to get the voice recordings of the phone conversations closely scrutinized. This would not only lead them to all the spots where the drugs are being concealed and burst open the entire operation but also the identities of the drug dealers and masterminds.

The police should not let go of this opportunity which is definitely a short cut to busting the drugs trade which has so far proved elusive despite the best efforts of the authorities. The mobile phone conversations would also reveal police officers and politicians, if any, who have been collaborating with the drug lords. Already several sleuths of the Police Narcotics Bureau have been arrested for being involved in the Narcotics business. This may only be the tip of the iceberg.

If Narcotics Bureau officers themselves are involved what would be the position with regard to others in the police service? The phone conversations would also bring to light details of other crimes such as robberies and murders. It has been established that the murder of former High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya was planned from behind prison walls. Similarly there could be other murders that were planned from prison cells particularly where drug business rivalry is involved.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne and Attorney General Dappula De Livera have already come down hard on the police and prison officers for dragging their feet in arresting drug related crime and criminal activity orchestrated from prisons. They blamed certain police officers and prison officials for collusion with drug lords behind bars.

The detection of over 1,000 mobile phones from prisons has borne out this accusation without a shred of doubt. All this time one was given to believe that it was only at Welikada that sleaze and intrigue was rampant. The latest detection has shown the degree to which the rot has spread in the entire prison system.

It is time for a wholesale spring cleaning if the public are to have faith in not only law enforcement but the entire justice system. Prisoners are sent into confinement as punishment for offences like murder, robbery, rape and drug running as a means of protecting the society from the evil doings of criminals. It is a joke, or rather an abomination if instead of being made to pay for their crimes they are being mollycoddled and more often than not given VIP treatment while serving sentences.

Unfortunately some of our politicians too have not acted exemplarily in this regard making a beeline to hospitals the moment they are sentenced to jail. This practice may certainly have influenced corrupt prison officers to go soft on their charges and provide them with facilities and other assistance for financial considerations.

Now that the whole sordid operation behind prison walls has been exposed it is incumbent on the authorities to act resolutely to end this status quo. A clean break is what is needed. Any police/prison officer found to be involved in corruption should be severely dealt with. A special unit should be deployed, preferably the STF, to handle prisoners convicted of drug offences.

A special probe should be launched to ascertain how such a large number of mobile phones were smuggled in to prisons. This is because even meals brought to prisons by the relatives of prisoners are checked. As mentioned, if mobile phones were found in all the 28 prisons in the country there is indeed something exceedingly rotten not only in the prisons system but in the entire law and order structure.

Hopefully this detection of phones, SIM cards and drugs would galvanise the authorities to go in for swift remedial measures to reform our prisons and the entire law and order structure. The prison incident cannot be treated in isolation since the malaise is afflicting the police service as a whole. If that be the case the ordinary law abiding citizens will have no recourse against criminal elements in society since the protection they seek will not be forthcoming due to corrupt elements among their so called protectors.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has stressed the need for law and order and discipline in the police service we are certain would accord priority in sorting out the crisis affecting the police and prison services with special emphasis on the crisis in our prisons islandwide.


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