News

Garlic scam: Computer records tampered with: CID

By Yoshitha Perera

Important data related to the alleged garlic scam have been deleted or destroyed from the computer database of state retailer Lanka Sathosa, investigators informed the Welisara Magistrate’s Court.

This was revealed to the court by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), based on the statement of the Assistant Manager of the Technical Division at Lanka Sathosa.

According to the said statement, data related to the garlic transaction was deleted or destroyed from the computer database of Lanka Sathosa the day after the garlic fraud took place.

When the case was taken up before Welisara Magistrate Heshantha de Mel last Thursday (14), the CID stated that according to the Assistant Manager’s statement, soon after the garlic transaction, someone had entered the Lanka Sathosa computer database and destroyed or deleted the data related to the transaction.

Accordingly, the CID requested the Magistrate to make an order pertaining to the money transferred to Lanka Sathosa by an Indian national in relation to the garlic transaction.

Subsequently, the Magistrate ordered Lanka Sathosa officials to transfer a sum of Rs. 7.4 million, which was to be kept under court custody till the case is over.

The CID objected to the bail request made by the counsels for the suspects. The CID officers also informed the court that the investigation into the alleged data manipulation in the Lanka Sathosa computer database was ongoing.

They also said that several more individuals needed to be apprehended and that the investigation into the scam was continuing at the Colombo Port, while the CID needed to record a number of statements from several other individuals.

However, the Magistrate released the five suspects on bail, stating that there was insufficient evidence to keep them under remand custody.

The five suspects are Sathosa Senior Manager – Supply Sirimal Fernando, Sathosa Shop Manager – Welisara H.W. Sameera, Sathosa Sales Stall Manager – Welisara Nuwan Lakmal, Deputy General Manager – Purchases Chamila Hayanthi Asuamanna, and Deepak Kumara, an Indian national who is linked to a company by the name of N.S. Enterprises.

The Magistrate ordered the five suspects be released on Rs. 100,000 cash bail each and two sureties of Rs. 5 million each. The court also imposed a travel ban on the five suspects and ordered them to hand over their passports to the court. The suspects were also ordered to be present at the CID on the last Sunday of every month.

Kalinga Indatissa PC and Nimanka Jayatuna appeared for Indian businessman Kumar, while 25 lawyers, including Sampath Mendis PC, Sajeewa Ganaegoda, and Nalinda Silva, appeared on behalf of the other suspects.