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Illegal import of booze costs Treasury Rs. 6 b in tax revenue


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It has been revealed that Sri Lanka loses revenue of over Rs. 6,000 million due to the import of foreign liquor through illegal means. 

The Government says this considerable amount of money can be used for the country’s development. However, the Special Narcotic Raids Unit, established under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, has so far been able to round up several such racketeers. 

Accordingly, the Special Narcotic Raids Unit was set up following a proposal made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to fully control the smuggling of narcotics and foreign liquor. It was also revealed that the law had not been implemented against such illegal racketeers during the past regime.

The raid conducted on 30 July to apprehend a large stock of illegal foreign liquor from Dematagoda was also made possible following continuous investigations carried out over a long period of time. On a tip-off received by the Special Narcotic Raids Unit of the Finance Ministry, the Special Task Force carried out the raid. 950 bottles of smuggled foreign liquor were discovered during this raid.

The Head of the Special Narcotic Raids Unit of the Finance Ministry, Wing Commander Ravi Jayasinghe, said that he suspected that this racket of importing foreign liquor through illegal means might have been carried out over a long period of time. He also said that the contraband was the largest stock of foreign liquor local authorities had ever seized in the recent past.  

Since being recently established, the Special Narcotic Raids Unit has been receiving a number of tip-offs with regard to similar rackets.

Wing Commander Jayasinghe said that after they carried out investigations following a tip-off they received, the raid was conducted in the Dematagoda area to seize the 950 bottles of smuggled foreign liquor.

One suspect had been arrested in connection with the incident and the matter had later been handed over to the Excise Department for further investigations.

The general public, if they possess any information relevant to similar rackets such as the smuggling of foreign liquor or its sale, was encouraged by the special unit to provide such information to the Special Narcotic Raids Unit of the Ministry of Finance by dialing 0112-484500, 0112-484600 or 0112-484700. 


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