19th October 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Goods purchased

In these columns last week I spoke about “crisis purchases” - the open licence for security forces top brass to procure, without tender procedures, any military hardware they deemed necessary to crush the LTTE. I revealed how the Sri Lanka Air Force purchased a Laser Designator with guided bombs for over Rs 200 million.

Insiders say orders have gone from top levels of the Government to the top brass to return this sophisticated gadgetry lying unused in a warehouse. They have been asked to claim a refund.

Here is one of the many other crisis purchases made by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

It is the purchase of Airborne Surveillance System at a cost of US dollars 6.374 million (or over Rs 377 million). The SLAF Order Number is M-245 and the Letter of Credit (L/C) Number is: 95/52916. Although this system is said to have communications intelligence and jamming capability, they say, it cannot access High Frequency (HF) communications which the LTTE uses. This Airborne Surveillance System is fitted to the SLAF’s only Beechcraft which is known to fly only five or six sorties a month !

That is not all. There are only two pilots, both having other full time responsibilities, who are qualified to fly this aircraft !!

\The price of the Beechcraft itself ? Well, it was only US dollars 4.5 million or Rs 265.5 million.

No wonder, the separatist war has become so costly to the tax payer. And little wonder information leaks are hurting the top brass so much

Calling Djakarta

The man who is running the country’s military machine against the LTTE - Deputy Defence Minister, General Anuruddha Ratwatte, was not in Sri Lanka when last Wednesday’s bomb explosion occurred in the City.

Telephone lines hummed between Colombo and the Indonesian capital of Djakarta where he is now on a visit.

Just fish

Policemen in an operational area in the east are talking about the raid the top brass conducted, not on a terrorist hideout but on the residence of their SSP.

An anonymous petition had claimed he stocked venison, wild boar and sambhur flesh.

All what the raiding party found was four Thilapiya fish. They went to the Police Station to check the fridge there. There were two bottles of aerated water.

What a lot an anonymous petition can do !!

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