Sri Lanka Customs has managed to raid an illegal distillery belonging to Matale District parliamentarian Wasantha Perera. The illegal operation had been carried out for a long time.
The Hingurana Sugar Company belongs to the parliamentarian and the spirit, which is a by-product in the manufacture of sugar, is being used to manufacture arrack. Although a tax of Rs. 450 per bottle has to be paid as taxes, the parliamentarian had avoided paying taxes amounting to Rs. 350 million to the Inland Revenue Department.
In order to overcome this tax issues, the parliamentarian is operating a distillery to produce spirits in the Dompe area. The illegal distillery had been recently raided by Customs officials.
Details about this distillery had been revealed when investigations were carried into a stock of spirits that had been imported under the guise of being used to produce perfumes and later used for the manufacture of arrack.
Since taxes are imposed on imported spirits this distillery had been carried out to give the impression that the spirits were being locally manufactured. The raid had revealed that hundreds of barrels of spirits had been manufactured on a daily basis at the distillery for the production of illegal kasippu and arrack.
It has also been revealed that the spirits used in the manufacture of alcohol were not suitable for human consumption. Two containers of urea fertilizer, a sugar container, five containers of formalin used to embalm dead bodies and five containers of caustic soda were found in the premises. These containers had been brought down to be used in the manufacturing process.
A Customs official said that the intestines and other internal organs of any person who consumed alcohol manufactured in this distillery would have melted.
Although a large number of illegal activities carried out by the parliamentarian had been revealed following the raid, Head of the Presidential Staff, Gamini Senarath has asked the head of Customs to stop the investigation.
Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera had also reprimanded the Customs Chief for carrying out the work of the Excise Department.
It is also learnt that the Customs official, Lankadeva, who had initiated the raid on Perera’s illegal distillery is now facing death threats.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jayasundera had also ordered to write off the Rs. 300 million taxes due from the Hingurana Sugar Company for manufacturing spirits.