12th October 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Dumb bombs

The magic word was “crisis purchase.” After peace talks with the LTTE failed, that was the “open licence” the PA Government gave security forces top brass.

“Buy whatever is required without tender procedure and finish the LTTE,” was the Government’s message. Needless to say there were billions and billions of rupees worth of arms deals. In its wake were born a breed of new millionaires, both in uniform and outside it. They were more affluent than the so called Komis Kaakas of the yester years.

Here is one procurement which is the talking point among some responsible sections of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Its about the purchase of a Laser Designator with guided bombs. The price ? A cool US dollars 3,761,000 (or over Rs 221,899,000). The price of a guided bomb ? A cool US dollars 40,000 (Rs 2,360,000).

Insiders say tests were carried out before the purchase. A 200 gallon barrel was placed on the ground and the system was fired from the air. It fell over 200 metres outside the target. Then they enlarged the target to a square, nine by nine metres. The pilot who was to fire the bomb said he did not need a Laser Guided Designator to fire at a target of that size.

Anyway the equipment arrived in February, last year. It is lying somewhere in an SLAF warehouse. For those who don’t believe it, the SLAF order number is M-256. The Letter of Credit number is 95/52365.

Now there will be more work for the Air Force Police boys. They will want to find out who leaked it to Alia. But the question is who paid more than Rs 200 million of tax payer’s money to buy equipment to idle somewhere ? Was it really necessary?

This is just one case. There are many, many more instances !!

Star strike

It was Army Day and a young scribe from our sister newspaper, the Lankadeepa, was among the galaxy of media personnel covering the event.

The scribe wanted to be more helpful. So he sought the help of our Director of Astrology and Palmistry to enlighten the public further. What he got was nothing but abuse.

If that was bad enough, there was more to come. The scribe’s phone rang at midnight. It was a caller threatening him not to cross the path of our self important DAP. The scribe has now made a complaint to the Police and is taking up the issue with higher authorities.

No doubt the Army Commander is unaware. High time these over enthusiastic types are stopped from practising psy ops on the scribes at the expense of the reputation of a coveted service. Over to you, Commander Sir !!

3 more in the city

Timely action by air- men on duty at an SLAF check- point led to the authorities averting a disaster-a planned, devastating attack on the Ratmalana airport. Police discovered a small arms cache hidden in the ceiling of a house not so far away.

Now comes more startling news. This arms cache is only one of four the LTTE had smuggled into the City to carry out attacks. The confessions have come from those now in custody.

Police are trying hard to track down where the three remaining arms caches are. Security checks in the City and suburbs in the meanwhile have been stepped up.

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