Cong alleges drug use at Sunburn, cops say no evidence

Last Updated 29 December 2019, 14:59 IST

The Congress on Sunday claimed that drug overdose could be the reason for the death of two tourists at Sunburn Music Festival, and it indicated sale of narcotics at the venue.

The state police, however, said no case of drug use or sale has been detected at the festival venue at Vagatore in North Goa district so far.

The opposition party demanded that the permission for the annual Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, which began on Friday and will end on Sunday, be revoked and an inquiry be conducted.

Festival organisers were not available for comment.

Sai Prasad and Venkat, who had arrived from Andhra Pradesh, felt uneasy outside the venue of Sunburn Festival on Friday while waiting for the gates to open. They were declared dead at a hospital in Mapusa the same evening.

The police had said that the possibility of drug overdose could not be ruled out, but they were yet to get autopsy reports.

A Congress delegation including state Youth Congress chief Varad Mardolkar, Amarnath Panjikar, Janardan Bhandari and Urfan Mulla met Utkarsh Prasoon, Superintendent of Police (North) on Sunday, demanding that permission given to the Sunburn organisers be revoked.

Talking to reporters, Mardolkar said "similar deaths due to drug overdose" had been reported at the festival in the past.

"Two a clear indication that drug- peddling takes place at the festival," he alleged.

"Goa has already got dubious distinction as a place of drugs. We can't allow the image of the state to be tarnished further," he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Digamber Kamat, in a statement, demanded that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant take action before Goa is branded as a "drug destination".

"I have serious apprehensions about the alleged nexus between politicians, police and drug traders and peddlers in Goa. I have raised this in the past too," Kamat added.

Saying that "drugs have reached in far remote areas of this tiny state," the Congress leader said Sawant should act "before the 'Bhasmasur' (monster) of drugs turns Goa into ashes".

But the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of Police said no case of drug use has been found at the festival venue so far.

Drug-sniffer dogs have been deployed at the venue for the first time this year along with three undercover teams of ANC personnel, it said.

(Published 29 December 2019, 14:39 IST)

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