Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat`s open criticism of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who cracked the police-politician-drug mafia nexus has triggered an outburst from police brass and the opposition.
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that the comments against Veenu Bansal, an IPS officer and former head of Goa`s anti-narcotics cell (ANC), were "in bad taste".
Kamat appeared upset that the officer had targeted the Israeli drug mafia operating in Goa, the BJP said.
Kamat in an interview published on Monday in a leading English daily said that the young IPS officer from the Arunachal, Mizoram, Goa and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre "had a habit of fishing in troubled waters".
"Veenu Bansal had a habit of fishing in troubled waters. This is the feedback I have received," Kamat said.
The chief minister said he had gone out of his way to ensure that Bansal was not given the post of the North Goa district (one of the two administrative districts that Goa is divided into).
"I have made enquiries about him. In fact, I went out of my way to ensure that Bansal did not become North Goa superintendent of police even though he was an IPS officer. I was not confident of him. I went against all advice, including from a senior politician from north India," Kamat said, adding that the current Director General of Police (DGP) Bhimsain Bassi was backing Bansal.
Till a few months ago, before he was transferred out of the Goa, Bansal was the toast of Goa Police for "taking on" the powerful Israeli drug mafia. He was then transferred to Arunachal Pradesh.
Bansal`s arrest of Israeli drug dealer David Driham alias Dudu, who is known to have links to several politicians, policemen and journalists, last year had ruffled the feathers of the police and the political establishment here.
Dudu`s arrest was perhaps the only credible action for the ANC which, for over 30 years, has been repeatedly criticised for not making headway in cracking down on the drug mafia in coastal Goa.
"Kamat has awarded the chief minister`s medal to (Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandrakant) Salgaonkar, who has sabotaged the police-politician-drug mafia probe. And now he is gunning for an IPS officer who took the battle to Goa`s Israeli drug lords and that too when the officer has already left Goa. This only shows that Kamat did not want the nexus to be broken," BJP general secretary Govind Parvatkar told reporters here.
A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, told a news agency that Kamat`s diatribe against the IPS officer was cheap and off the mark.
"Bansal was an officer of the government. If there were such apprehensions, then the home ministry should have recommended action against him," the official said.
"By tongue-lashing an officer irresponsibly, especially when he has been transferred out, makes one wonder whether those who made these statements are at all happy about the fact that two major Israeli drug dealers were arrested in Goa in the last two years," the official said.