Panaji: An alleged Goan drug dealer, who was onced backed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, has now been accused by police of orchestrating a contract killing from Mumbai`s Arthur Road jail.
Police here say Tukaram Savlo Salgaonkar, 31, has confessed to giving a contract to a sharp shooter to kill a rival, Samprit Malvankar, at a bar in Anjuna, a coastal village in Goa notorious for the drug trade.
"Savlo has been brought here on a 10-day transfer warrant in connection with the Samprit murder. He was arrested by Mumbai Police some years ago for possession of drugs," inspector Manjunath Dessai told reporters Tuesday.
Savlo, arrested by Mumbai Police for allegedly peddling drugs a few years ago, had found support from BJP legislator Dayanand Mandrekar, who was in turn backed by BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Mandrekar, who represents the coastal constituency of Siolim, had stoutly defended Savlo in the state assembly in March this year calling him innocent and saying he had been trapped by an Israeli drug dealer, David Driham alias Dudu.
"These drugs were given to him by Israeli drug peddler Dudu. He (Savlo Salgaonkar) fell into the trap. The home minister should approach the Maharashtra government and help him get out of trouble," Mandrekar, a former minister, had said.
Gadkari, who hails from Maharashtra, had backed Mandrekar`s claim, saying Savlo was possibly innocent.
"The person (Savlo) may be innocent. That is why he (Mandrekar) must have demanded his release. I will personally cross check the issue," Gadkari had said in May, commenting on Mandrekar`s controversial remarks.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, opposition leader Manohar Parrikar admitted that contract killings in Goa were a cause for worry. But he added that Mandrekar`s statement should not be construed as supportive of drug peddling.
"Mandrekar meant to say that the due to prevalence of drugs, local youths were being dragged into the vortex of crime. He did not mean to support drug pushing," Parrikar said.