Bombay HC chides Goa police on failure to get model`s statement
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Last Updated: Friday, June 04, 2010, 18:22
Panaji: The failure of Goa Police to record the statement of a Swedish model Lucky Farmhouse, a crucial witness in police-drug peddlers nexus case, has drawn criticism from the Bombay High Court.

"The records show that an interview was recorded by agency of a lady who claimed to be friend of the said Atala but till date her statement has not been recorded (by the police)," the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court said in its June 2 order granting bail to one of the accused, police inspector Ashish Shirodkar.

Justice N A Britto granted bail Shirodkar, who is among the seven policemen arrested for their alleged nexus drug peddlers, but not before pointing out the glaring loopholes in the investigation by Crime Branch which is probing the case for more than two months now.

Lucky, a Swedish model and former girlfriend of Israeli drug peddler Yaniv Benaim alias Atala, had exposed the drug scam after she uploaded video-footage of her boyfriend Atala bragging about his links with the policemen.

Referring to the agency interview, the Judge observed that Lucky has said that she also had video footage of a Goan politician's son who came to collect money from Atala but till date her statement has not been recorded.

The 32-year-model was camping in Mumbai for almost a month before leaving for Sweden this week. However, the Crime Branch did not record her statement.

The single bench in the 16-page-order has also made a reference to police's investigation in alleged suicide of Nadia Torrado, a close friend of Tourism Minister Fransisco Pacheco.

"If the police department can send police inspectors North (Mumbai) and East (Chennai) to investigate a simple case of attempted suicide, the police department could have certainly sent a responsible IPS officer to record the statement of Atala's friend (Lucky)," the court said.

Shirodkar, who headed the Anti Narcotic Cell and whose name figures in the video footage shot on spy cam by Lucky, was granted bail by the High court.

The court ruled that it is not only the gravity of the offence which matters while considering a bail application but also the nature of evidence which is produced in support of the charge.

"Considering the nature of evidence presently available, I am inclined to admit the applicant to bail," the judge ruled.


First Published: Friday, June 04, 2010, 18:22

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