- Top Excise official sent from Colombo for an internal investigation
- Investigation initiated whether the CCTV system of the premises had malfunctioned
By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Suspicion leads to a large stock of alcohol leaked out of the main Lanka Sathosa liquor outlet in Anuradhapura under the blessings of an Excise official, when the sale of booze is banned over countrywide travel restrictions were meant for a security forces camp.
The Department of Excise ordered a special internal investigation into the case where an Inspector attached to the Anuradhapura Excise Station was said to have been involved in breaking their own seal and let a massive purchase of liquor being made by a person that wore a security forces uniform.
The major raid came into light on Wednesday, as the manageress of the Anuradhapura main Lanka Sathosa liquor outlet had allegedly been instructed by a Sathosa bigwig to make way for the purchase of 800 bottles of a very popular brand of local arrack to be bought by a security force personal, abetted by a Sathosa salesperson at the behest of an Excise officer.
Since the countrywide travel restrictions were in place the Department of Excise ordered all the liquor shops to be sealed since Monday, May 31 as numerous instances of liquor being secretly sold were reported.
As per the preliminary investigations, the Excise officer had allegedly helped to break the seal of the liquor outlet before the Sathosa salesperson had made available the ordered stock of liquor approximately worth of Rs.1.6 million to be purchased by the man in the forces uniform. The Excise officer had then resealed the premises once the deal was done.
When contacted, a top Excise official did not rule the fact that the massive stock of liquor was meant none other than for a security forces camp, as per the initial doubts of the nature of the crime lead only in that direction.
Also, it was highly unlikely that the massive purchase with the involvement of Sathosa bigwigs and the Excise officials could have been done on the whims of a politician, as pointed out by the Sathosa trade unions.
The Excise Department yesterday sent an Additional Excise Commissioner-General to Anuradhapura to do the internal investigation with the backing of Assistant Excise Commissioner North Central Police and Excise Superintendent Anuradhapura.
Meanwhile, Anuradhapura Police have also initiated an investigation by yesterday to find whether the CCTV system of the premises had malfunctioned.