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Goa minister concedes nexus between drug traffickers and cops

Goa minister Vijai Sardesai said the “drug trafficking cannot happen without collusion of some people at the top.”

india Updated: Aug 14, 2017 21:41 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Panaji
Goa minister,Goa,Vijai Sardesai
Goa minister Vijai Sardesai said his party and the state government have a policy of “zero tolerance” for drugs.(File Photo/For Representation )

The death of two men due to suspected drug overdose in Goa has reopened a debate over the illicit narcotics trade “flourishing” in the country’s beach capital frequented by domestic as well as foreign tourists.

On a day the Congress alleged the state government was aware of the illegal drug trade, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai conceded the existence of a “police-drug paddler nexus”, saying the “drug trafficking cannot happen without collusion of some people at the top.”

The men from Tamil Nadu died after attending a party on the Vagator beach in North Goa Sunday night.

Sardesai, who heads the Goa Forward Party--one of the allies of the BJP-led state government--said chief minister Manohar Parrikar has ordered a crackdown on the drug trade and the police have started arresting some suspects.

“Nobody in the Goa government supports the drug trade, which means some police officials are involved in it (drug trade). I want the government to crack down on such police officers. There is a nexus between the police and the drug paddlers in the coastal belt,” Sardesai said while taking questions from reporters.

The minister said his party and the state government have a policy of “zero tolerance” for drugs.

“We won’t allow drugs in the state, but despite all this the drug overdose happened and two youths died, which means drugs are available,” he said.

Sardesai said though he is a supporter of the Goa Police, he believes the “drug trafficking is a well organised trade which cannot happen without collusion of some people at the top.”

He said some quarters have raised an “irrelevant” demand to ban night parties to curb the drug menace.

“We cannot finish the entertainment industry under the garb of a crackdown on drug trafficking. We will have to have a balanced approached and cannot let Goa earn a bad name in the process,” he added.

Earlier in the day, the Congress accused the BJP government of failing to curb the illicit drug trade.

“The incident in which two youths from Tamil Nadu died due to the drug overdose proves that there is a complete failure on part of the government to control the narcotics trade in the state,” Congress Legislative Party spokesman Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco told reporters.

He said the drugs have now even reached villages in the state and that educational institutes are also not safe from this menace.

“We would like to know from the chief minister as what he wants to make out of Goa? The drug trade is flourishing like any other business. Drugs are sold openly and the state government is well aware of the situation,” Lourenco alleged.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 21:41 IST