Goa drug mafia only a rumour, says Goa CM 

The investigation into the drug peddling in the state was based on the information provided by those arrested so far, Sawant said in the state Assembly. (PTI File Photo)

The drug mafia in Goa, which has inspired movies, books and even the commissioning of a legislative committee report some years back, is only a rumour, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the Goa legislative Assembly on Tuesday. 

Questioned aggressively by MLAs both from the Opposition and the treasury benches, Sawant also said that drugs are not available in the "open market" in Goa, narcotics substances were smuggled into the coastal state, while also conceding that big drug dealers have been eluding the state police.

"There are only rumours and no confirmed knowledge of the existence of ‘drug mafia’ in Goa. However, Goa being a tourist destination, narcotic drugs are being smuggled in Goa for trade, consumption and transit," Sawant said.

Interestingly, Sawant did deny the organised and clandestine sale of drugs in Goa. "The drug dealers/suspects involved in narcotic activities operate in a clandestine and organised manner. The information about narcotic activities is collected through sources and raids are conducted and the perpetrators of these crimes are arrested," Sawant said in his written response to a question from Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat.

Even as Goa is one of the top tourism destinations in the country, but it is also well known for easy availability of drugs, especially in the coastal fringes of the state which are popular with tourists. The drug mafia has been documented in books like 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts, movies like 'Dum Maaro Dum' by Rohan Sippy and even in a 2013 legislative committee report authored by former MLA Francisco Pacheco which had identified a nexus between police, politicians and the drug mafia. 

Sawant also said that in 2017, 168 cases were registered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act. In 2018, 222 were registered and up to June this year 114 cases have been registered.

The chief minister also said that despite efforts of crackdown on drug traders, the state police had been unable to identify "big suppliers" of drugs and narcotics substances.

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