Panaji, Aug 20:
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday said there are no “organised gangs” that distribute drugs in Goa.
“There are no organized gangs which specialize in distribution of drugs in the state,” the chief minister said in a written reply in the assembly.
His comments come a few months after Director General of Police T.N. Mohan attracted flak from the opposition and civil society for trying to play down the menace of drugs and drug mafias in Goa.
“There are drugs in Goa… It is still my opinion that Goa is not Mexico. Goa does not have a mafia or a lawlessness which is there is those places,” Mohan had said in May, adding that the presence of drugs in Goa was “nominal”.
Parrikar in his assembly reply also blamed foreign and domestic tourists for the problem of drug peddling. He said there was no organized source from where drugs are carried to Goa.
“While LSD and other prescription drugs etc have sources outside India, ganja and charas is being carried and delivered in Goa though carriers or north Indian states,” Parrikar said.
The comments are contradictory to the claims made by his party MLA Michael Lobo from the coastal Calangute constituency, famous for its beaches as well as sale of narcotics.
Lobo has often accused the police of being hand-in-glove with the drug mafias operating in Goa.
“The Nigerian and Russian mafia are going unchecked because the police are scared of them… The Nigerians are very organized. If you go into Tito’s lane at night, there are Nigerians openly asking tourists if they want ‘coca’, which is the street name of cocaine. So many police officers are themselves under suspension because of their nexus with the local and other drug mafias. In spite of all this, how can the DGP say there’s no drug mafia in Goa,” Lobo has said.
After a group of Nigerians protested, following the murder of their fellow national in October last year, Parrikar had suggested that the murder was on account of a drug war between gangs.
Goa, one of the most popular beach tourism destinations, is also known for easy availability of drugs.