Panaji: Goa`s drug mafia may have a reason to be cautious. Re-elected North Goa BJP MP Shripad Naik will insist that a central agency probe its operations in the state.
Naik, now a four-time MP and a former union minister of the state, said drug was a serious issue in Goa and needed to be rooted out with the help of central agencies, which could tackle the issue holistically.
"I will pursue this with the central government and get the probe done. It is important because it is affecting youth in Goa," Naik told IANS in an interview.
The tourism-oriented coastal fringe of Naik`s constituency, especially beach villages like Anjuna, Calangute, Chapora, Baga, Mandrem, Morjim, and Arambol are hubs for trading drugs. They are largely responsible for Goa`s increasing reputation as a narco-tourism destination.
In fact, Naik`s key rival, Congress candidate Ravi Naik in the just-concluded Lok Sabha election, has been accused of links to the drugs mafia.
Naik has been indicted in a police-politician-drug mafia nexus by a legislative committee, which accused him and his son Roy of links to the drug mafia, including Israeli drug dealers functioning in Goa.
Naik was also accused in an open court by Fiona Mackeown, mother of sexually assaulted and slain British teenager Scarlett Keeling, of backing Goa`s drug trade, a charge that he and his son have denied.
In the run up to the polls, Naik had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Goa`s drug nexus.
"I assure you I will get a CBI inquiry into the entire drug scenario in Goa once we form our government at the centre," he had said, adding the drug menace was very real and needed to be rooted out of the state.
The Congress, which has been on the back foot on the drugs issue, however, continues to point an accusatory finger at the BJP, claiming it was the saffron party`s legislators who had been returned from the coastal constituencies where the drug trade proliferates.
Incidentally, newly-appointed Director General of Police T.N. Mohan, during an interaction with the media, claimed that there was no drug mafia in Goa - a comment that attracted criticism by the opposition as well as civil society.
"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 in those places," Mohan said, adding that the presence of drugs in Goa was "nominal".
Goa`s drug gang wars spilt in an ugly manner on to the state`s roads last year after a group from Chapora killed a Nigerian, who, according to the police, was a member of a rival narcotics gang.
In response, the Nigerians blockaded a National Highway by dumping the corpse on the road and even beating up policemen who wanted to clear the road.
Goa is one of the top narco-tourism destinations in the country and is known for its easy supply of drugs across the natural and chemical spectrum in the beach belt. The state attracts three million tourists annually, of whom half a million are foreigners.