Drugs, cops and rock 'n' roll in Goa

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 21, 2013 07:03 hrs

Panaji: It's almost like reading a racy potboiler.

A legislative report on the police-drug mafia nexus in Goa has virtually reinforced the state's reputation as the top narco-tourism destination in the country, a popular perception that the state is fast trying to shrug off.

The report of the committee, chaired by legislator Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco of the Goa Vikas Party, exposes just how deeply entrenched the drug mafia network is in the police and political hierarchies.

The state's top cop, claims the report, is the "kingpin" of the drug trade, while former home minister Ravi Naik's son, Roy, was called the "Boss" by drug dealers who were allowed to operate at abandon.

"The committee is of the firm opinion that DGP (director general of police) Kishen Kumar is the kingpin in the state police structure which protected and sheltered the drug mafia," the report says, while severely criticising the officer for trying to stonewall the committee's probe by withholding information on the drug mafia and police involvement.

The role of police in fostering the drug trade in the state came to light three years ago after Swedish model Lucky Farmhouse uploaded a candid video on YouTube that showed her former Israeli drug dealer boyfriend Yaniv Benaim alias Atala of boasting of his connections with the police and politicians.

Eight policemen, including a police inspector and sub-inspector of the crack anti-narcotics unit were arrested and subsequently released on bail.

The report says that Farmhouse had seen Atala buying drugs from Roy, as well as paying him and the police protection money.

The new report now takes the charge against the Naiks a step further, claiming that Roy Naik's in-laws used to collect protection money on his behalf from drug dealers operating in Goa.

"It is believed that...(in-laws) Imamsab Husensab Thankary and Parvez Lutfedin Habib were used by Roy Naik for collecting haftas/protection money for patronising and helping the drug trade and both these...amassed huge wealth and assets during this period with Roy Naik," the report says.

Roy, the report says, was referred to as the "Boss" by Atala, who has been arrested and released on bail by police. The report also indicts the state police as well as Ravi Naik for allowing Atala to jump bail and escape the country.

"He (Atala) later escaped from the country in connivance with the Goa Police personnel and with the active assistance of the then top ranking politicians in the state home ministry, without whose green signal Atala's jumping of bail in Goa would have been highly impossible," the report says.

Interestingly, it is just this kind of "negative" publicity which Goa's tourism authorities have been trying to stave off by positioning Goa as a destination that does not encourage shoestring and back-pack tourism.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

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