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Aluthgamage to CID against Patali’s fertiliser claim

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday (10) lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) seeking an inquiry into recent allegations made by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka regarding alleged irregularities that have taken place during the process of importing nano nitrogen liquid fertiliser from India.

Ranawaka recently alleged that a serious and massive financial fraud has taken place in the process of importing the said fertiliser from India.

Accordingly, after lodging the complaint with the CID yesterday, Aluthgamage claimed that he, as the Agriculture Minister, was not involved in any irregularity. He therefore requested the CID to conduct an inquiry into these allegations made by Ranawaka.

Claiming further that Opposition MPs have repeatedly accused the Government based on false allegations, he said that the said fertiliser import had been done with transparency. Therefore, anyone can look into that transaction, he added.

Speaking to the media on 3 November, Ranawaka alleged that during the purchase of 5,000 litres of nano nitrogen liquid fertiliser, a sum of nearly Rs. 8 billion has been pocketed by a certain Minister and a certain State Minister. Elaborating on the matter, he said that while the actual price of a litre of nano nitrogen liquid fertiliser is only $ 6.41, the price at which a litre of such fertiliser was imported to Sri Lanka, according to the relevant bills, is $ 25. He further accused the said Minister and State Minister of having imposed the said price of $ 25. Accordingly, he alleged: “The total consignment of 50,000 litres imported into the country is worth around $ 387,000. The remaining $ 800,000 has been robbed.”

The Government imported liquid fertiliser from Indian Farmers’ Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd. (IFFCO) and from an initial order of 3.1 million litres, 90,000 bottles, were airlifted on 19 October. Another stock of 145,152 litres of nano nitrogen liquid fertiliser arrived in the country on 4 November.