Law as an ass

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Underworld kingpin, Mohamed Najim Mohamed alias Kanjipani Imran, who secured bail the other day, has fled to India, according to Indian media reports. His escape has come as no surprise. Nobody expected him to stay here and stand trial. Ironically, the news of his escape has come while a much-advertised anti-narcotic operation ‘to save schoolchildren’ is going on!

The Sri Lanka police and their UAE counterparts worked tirelessly for months on end to arrest Kanjipani Imran and another notorious criminal, Makandure Madush, who was known as Sri Lanka’s Napoleon of Crime, in Dubai, in 2019. They were then brought here. Maithripala Sirisena, who was the President at the time, provided unwavering political leadership to the country’s war on drugs. Unfortunately, the Easter Sunday terror attacks derailed his campaign.

Having fled the country, Kanjipani Imran will carry out his illegal operations from overseas as many other drug lords do! The crime busters who conducted the successful raid in Dubai must be gnashing their teeth. One wonders whether Justitia favours some wealthy criminals in this country.

Underworld figures with political connections either perish in suspicious circumstances or are smuggled out of the country. One may recall that a drug lord was allowed to leave the country during the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Known as Kudu Lal, he left via the BIA with the help of a Cabinet Minister, who turned Kelaniya into Sri Lanka’s crime capital. The minister escorted the drug baron to the boarding area of the BIA itself to ensure that the latter would not be arrested. He thus put paid to the STF’s efforts to nab the main supplier of hell dust in Colombo!

Vilfredo Pareto’s theory of circulation of elites views regime changes from a different perspective. In this country, where politics and crime are joined at the hip, criminals also circulate when governments change. Kanjipani Imran emerged stronger following the 2015 regime change, and some politicians including MPs abused their positions to launder his drug money, which he invested in a cab service among other things. Several prominent UNP leaders attended the launch of that business as special guests, and some of them are currently in the SJB. Now that Imran has made good his escape, according to media reports, his political masters will heave a sigh of relief; had he stood trial and spilt the beans, they would have found themselves in the soup.

Imran is lucky that he did not face the same fate as his underworld ally, Makandure Madush, who, according to the police, perished in a crossfire between a team of police officers taking him to a hideout where drugs were hidden, and an underworld gang. The Sri Lanka police have apparently overtaken Hans Christian Anderson!

It is believed that many politicians benefited from Madush’s largesse and had him do their dirty work; they did not want him to squeal on them and therefore had him put to bed with a shovel.

All underworld kingpins who work for politicians receive the so-called karapincha (curry leaves) treatment; they are used and discarded. Gonawala Sunil, a murderer and rapist, who did the UNP’s dirty work, was gunned down when he became an embarrassment to his political masters. Contract killer and extortionist, Beddegana Sanjeewa, who served the SLFP-led People’s Alliance government faithfully, was shot dead when he overstepped his limits. Wambotta, and Prince Kolom died violent deaths having worked for the SLFP-led UPFA government. There are many such underworld characters still doing political work, and they will become active again if the Local government elections are held.

One of the main reasons why some criminals are able to escape with ease is that the law is replete with loopholes and manipulated in favour of them. When rogue politicians also support such characters, it becomes well-nigh impossible for the police to fight crime effectively. Kanjipani Imran’s escape, in our book, serves as an indictment of all three branches of government.

courtesy The Island

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