18August2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Question marks about the drug committee

Yaniv Benahim alias AtalaOctober 21 -27, 2013

Team GS

While not holding a brief for former home minister Ravi Naik, who was indicted by the House Committee last week, “for closing his eyes to the drug trade and drug mafia”, sources have pointed out that there was nothing kosher about some of the members of the committee.

The House committee was formed a year ago amidst whispers of a nexus between politicians, drug peddlers and policemen, something the 96-page report says is the case.

First of all it was headed by Goa Vikas Party and Nuvem legislator Mickky Pacheco, who was arrested in July 2010 by the Goa police after being accused of culpable homicide in connection with the death of Nadia Torrado, whom he described as a “close friend”.  At the time of his arrest, Ravi Naik was the home minister.

Mickky had gone missing for close to a month in June 2010, after he was interrogated. He had applied for anticipatory bail several times, but was rejected by a series of courts.  He finally surrendered in a court in Margao on July 3 after the Supreme Court turned down his bail application. He was then arrested on July 8.

Lavoo Mamledar, who was also a member of the House Committee, had unseated Ravi Naik in Ponda, a seat that was the former home minister’s bastion for decades.  Mamledar of the Mahrashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Naik have had a long-running political rivalry.

Then there is Vishnu Wagh, the loose-talking legislator from St Andre. In his detailed dissent note, Wagh said that the documentary evidence is not enough to pinpoint the goals set out before the committee. “There is no direct evidence to implicate Ravi Naik in the case as no proof of his involvement in suppressing the police investigation has come to light.” Wagh even said, “The recommendation to expel Naik from the membership of the House from backdate is not only hypothetical but also laughable.”

Wagh wags his finger

It should be mentioned that in a caste-ridden polity, Wagh belongs to the Bhandari Samaj as does Ravi Naik. Wagh has not been afraid to flaunt his caste tag. In August he had demanded that the BJP government, of which he is a part, should implement 27 per cent OBC reservation for the Bhandari Samaj.

Both he and Calangute legislator Michael Lobo, who was also a member of the committee, have also come out in support of the police including DGP Kishen Kumar, who was also indicted by the committee, saying that, “There is nothing in evidence submitted before us to implicate police officers. The remarks made against them are purely speculative”.
The five-member committee had criticized DGP Kumar “… since the documents perused were voluminous (another reason for the delay) and also due to the reluctance and non-cooperation of the DGP in submitting/providing certain crucial evidence asked for by the House Committee, citing various vague reasons.” But sources point out that indicting Kishan Kumar, who took charge in December 2011, and therefore was not heading the police at the relevant time does not make sense.

“How can we project the Goa police in such poor light when people of the State need to have some faith in the law enforcing agency,” Lobo has been quoted as saying.

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