Goa police knew Atala was missing when Assembly was on

Panaji: Goa police apparently hid the information about Israeli drug peddler Yaniv Benaim alias Atala jumping bail, from the state Legislative Assembly when it was in session recently.

Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mapusa, which was hearing case against Atala for overstaying, had issued non-bailable warrants against him on July 29, court sources said.

"The warrant was issued when he did not remain present for the hearing before the court on July 29," court sources said.

The non bailable warrant was issued immediately and he was asked to be presented before the court on August 5. Goa Legislative Assembly session was in motion from July 17 to August 6.

State Home Minister Ravi Naik had made a statement on the floor of the House on August 6 contending that investigation in the police-drug peddler nexus case was being conducted professionally.

Police spokesman Atamaram Deshpande had told reporters on Wednesday that police came to know that Atala was missing on August 7, incidentally a day after assembly session was over.

Police in their statement had stated that Atala, an important link in nexus between policemen and drug peddlers, was last found to be staying in a hotel from June 24, 2010 to July 13, 2010.

Seven policemen were arrested after Atala's former girlfriend Lucky Farmhouse uploaded a video on a social networking site which showed former bragging about his contacts with the police.

Atala was arrested on March 10, 2010 and sent to 14 days police custody. He was given bail on June 21, 2010 on the condition that he should inform police about his address.