By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Both the Police and the STF should be empowered to take legal action against the seized quantities of artificial toddy in the future in addition to the Excise Department instituting action, Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana said.
He said that this measure was to address the huge loss of tax revenue to the government through the irregularities in the local toddy industry.
The MP brought the matter to the notice of the State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal last week in the House that both the Police and the Police Special Task Force should be empowered with the law to produce the illicit liquor stocks they seize during the raids.
He said that usually the practice was to handover whatever the stocks of artificial toddy seized by the authorities to the nearest Excise station in the area, which will then be produced by the latter in the respective courts of law.
MP Pathirana said that various irregularities could be seen taking place when Excise Dept.was finalising the legal formalities especially against the perpetrators of the artificial or chemically enhanced toddy manufacturing during the cases.
Responding to the oral questions, State Minister of Finance Cabraal said that the Excise Dept. usually prepared a Technical Crime Report (TCR) if they found any licensed toddy maker had attempted to increase its produce unlawfully by adding chemicals.
MP Pathirana then questioned as to how a simple TCR would be sufficient in an instance when the authorities seized huge amounts of artificial toddy exceeding even 30, 000 to 60, 000 litres when their license only permited them to manufacture one tenth of such volume.
Minister Cabraal in response said that he will look into the matter further.