President’s counsel (PC) C R De Silva addressing court on behalf of his client , K .Ranjan , the Director of the customs appraisal division who was arrested and produced in court , said, questioned why should his client seek a bribe of Rs. 10 lakhs when he is having a prospect of getting Rs. 40 million as reward from the Govt. by discharging his duty duly by conducting a raid ? The PC raised this question when the bribery conspiracy case was taken up. When the duties are performed duly , naturally there is a proliferation of enemies, and this bribery charge is a conspiracy hatched by his client’s enemies , he pointed out. PC Silva also informed court that the cash involved was found on the ground near the table of his client .
There is a witness , whose name is Subasinghe prepared to give evidence and he is in court now.
However , the Bribery Commission official, P Chandrasiri alleged that the cash was retrieved from the suspect’s third drawer , and investigations into that is not over yet. After hearing both sides , the additional Magistrate, Ms. Praharsha Ranasinghe remanded the Director until the 17th.
At all events , this arrest made allegedly while the Customs appraisal division chief was receiving a bribe of Rs. 10 lakhs , according to reports reaching Lanka e news is part of a calculated conspiratorial plan of the Rajapakse regime in pursuance of a vindictive agenda directed against Govt. officers not to their liking.
A member of the Customs officers association , speaking to Lanka e news stated , this officer who was arrested had been in the customs service for a long period and is one who had carefully maintained a good record and reputation, not likely to be lured by bribes. Because the MaRa regime is bearing a grudge and is smarting over the recent confiscation of a quantity of formalin spirit worth Rs. 2000 million ! which was imported for the Island wide kasippu business of the MaRa regime via forged documents and putting Leksika Peiris , a daughter in law of the Rajapakse brother in the forefront , this Director was victimized based on this conspiracy. It is significant to note that this confiscated contraband worth Rs. 2000 million was released on a fine of Rs. 20 million on the orders of the MaRa as the Finance Minister under whom the Customs Dept. is.
It is in connection with this same contraband , formalin spirit that was seized by the Customs Director General Dr. Neville Gunawardena recently , the latter was removed from his post. It is a motor spares dealer from Negombo , Harsha Prabath De Silva who has been enlisted to execute the Rajapakses’ conspiracy of bribery .
It is lamentable that because of the MaRa conspiracies , honest customs officers are disillusioned and disgusted. Though the customs Dept. was transferred to a new Building , it is the same old furniture and tables that are being used , whereby the drawers cannot be securely locked. Consequently anybody can introduce anything surreptitiously into the drawers and plot to incriminate and arrest officers in this manner.
If a corrupt customs officer is wishing to take bribes , he does not resort to this method , he arranges for the payments to be deposited in Banks in Singapore , Bangkok and Dubai . Hence those who orchestrate this type of conspiracies to trap honest officers will certainly incur the wrath that will curse their families and their generations , a Customs officer told with concern. It is revealed that this honest officer who fell victim to the MaRa conspiracy had earned for Customs dept . and the Govt. many billions of rupees via levies during his period of office. In other words he had been an asset to the country and the people bringing in revenue unlike the loud mouthed political leaders who are a bane to all including themselves.