A unit of STF officers recently attached to the Finance Ministry had launched the operation to arrest the public relations officer (PRO) of the finance and media minister and three others, government sources say. Not even the IGP was aware of this STF operation, but a top government figure was behind it, the sources say.
This STF unit was attached to the ministry at the request of its former minister to function under him outside the Excise Department to conduct illicit liquor raids.
After the recent cabinet reshuffle, the new minister Mangala Samaraweera dissolved the unit after he was told about it by ministry secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga.
The minister was given information with regard to this unit available with the Customs and Excise Department and other parties.
Samaraweera said the unit was unnecessary and instructed the ministry secretary to remove it.
The secretary informed the unit of the decision, but the minister was requested that the unit be allowed to function.
The minister rejected it, and the unit was removed from the ministry.
This unit had two Excise Dept. officials attached to it too, and it has carried out a considerable work.
Unfriendly with the minister
According to information, STF officers of the unit had taken offence with the minister over the unit’s removal and the top government figure entered the scene to use that to his advantage.
The officers, together with that top government figure gathered information about the parties being attended by the minister’s staff and the participants, with focus on persons with whom Manahara was having connections.
Caught on the trap
The unit received information that Manahara and three of his friends would be attending a night party on August 05. That information confirmed their car’s number and that one of them used narcotic drugs.
The operation was carried out and the four were arrested and handed over to Mt. Lavinia police. From the possession of the person from Kandana, three grams of cocaine, 0.45 grams of artificial drugs, 9.420 grams of kush were seized. He admitted his guilt. Eighteen bottles of liquor, 480 cigarettes, 9.74 grams of hashish and two knives were found from his house at Kandana.
Claim that all were found from the car
However, the top government figure got his social media associates to publicize that all the contraband were found from the car, implicating that Samaraweera’s PRO was involved in drug dealing.