Goa police backtracks on politicians' links to drug trade
Panaji: In a sudden flip flop, the Goa police's crime branch investigating the police-politician-drug mafia nexus Friday said nobody has given them a statement alleging involvement of politicians in the drug racket.
The police statement comes two days after Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandrakant Salgaonkar, in an email to whistleblower Swedish model Lucky Farmhouse, said that police were probing the involvement of politicians in the drug mafia and required her co-operation.
"Nobody has given statement to me in regards (to) that, some body should say... will definitely investigate in that way," Salgonkar told reporters, adding that police were currently not investigating the "politician angle".
Asked if the crime branch was in a position to investigate ruling party politicians involved the drugs mafia, Salgoankar said: "Let her (Lucky) give a statement. If she gives me a statement I will investigate in that direction... whoever it may be, we have not restricted to anything, even press... Let that (politicians nexus) come in black and white, then we will investigate."
Lucky’s spycam videos of Israeli drug dealer and her ex-boyfriend Yaniv Benaim alias Atala boasting of his links to police and politicians had exposed the nexus, resulting in the arrest of six policemen, including a police inspector - Ashish Shirodkar, who formerly headed the anti-narcotics operation, and Atala himself.
In their e-mail sent to Lucky dated May 11 (and subsequently on May 12), the crime branch requested the Swedish model to come to Goa with all the spycam videos shot by her that prove the involvement of police and politicians in Goa’s narcotics mafia.
The crime branch's retraction comes at a time when it and the Goa police itself have been accused several times of sabotaging investigations in drug mafia-related crimes, beginning from the sexual assault and murder of visiting British teenager Scarlett Keeling.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar has already demanded the arrest of Salgaonkar for allegedly trying to sabotage the probe in order to save a leading politician and asked the state government to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).