A senior Goa Congress leader has allegedly claimed that the Goa CM’s office, Dy Speaker Michael Lobo, former CM Laxmikant Parsekar, former Goa Cabinet Minister Dayanand Mandrekar and other senior BJP leaders are on the regular payroll of the drug mafia in the State and offer protection to drug lords and drug peddlers. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior Congress leader said that because the State machinery offers protection to the drug lords, there are no major arrests and only the small fry are picked up.
“The CM;s office has been getting regular haftas and bribes from the drug mafia and at least 5-6 shacks or joints in North Goa have been paying huge sums of money to BJP leaders to turn a blind eye to the sale of drugs on their premises. Other BJP leaders who are favored by the drug mafia include Dy Speaker and MLA Michael Lobo, former CM Laxmikant Parsekar and Dayanand Mandrekar, the Congress leader said.
Former Calangute sarpanch Joseph Sequeira had earlier urged his rival Calangute MLA Michael Lobo to reveal the names of the police officers who are allegedly involved in a nexus with drug peddlers along the coastal belt. “While speaking at Bandodkar’s death anniversary at Calangute, Michael Lobo had claimed he knows which police officers are shielding drug peddlers. If he knows the names, why is he not revealing their identities?” Sequeira had demanded at a press conference. Sequeira now claims Lobo got pots of money to keep his mouth shut.
Over the last year, thanks to the hard stance adopted by the Goa government after drugs were found on the premises of a couple of shacks in North Goa, there has been a steep increase in registration of drug cases.
In contrast to the 36 cases of 2016, as many as 136 cases were registered in 2017, almost a 400% increase. Drugs seized in raids were worth Rs. 2.84cr, SP Umesh Gaonkar of the anti-narcotics cell (ANC) had claimed. Of the foreigners arrested, 80% were Nigerians.
According to a old report in IndiaScribes.com, “Several places in Anjuna and Vagator are known for selling drugs on their premises. Drugs are available at shacks like Shiva Valley, Hilltop, Nine Bar, Sea Horse, Cafe Lilliput, UV Bar at Anjuna, Copa Cubana at Arpora and Sinq Night Club at Candolim. Even the owners and operators of these venues are aware of this fact, but either turn a blind eye to the crime or are partners in the profits and spoils. Earlier 2-3 places at Baga were notorious for selling drugs on their premises in the past, but have stopped the activity after police pressure. Last year the owners of two shacks having a notorious reputation were arrested by the police in flash raids on their premises.
Lui Cafe and Paradiso Club – run by Nandan Kudchadkar, an aide to former Congress MP from South Goa Francisco Sardinha – was also on the radar in the past. Nine Bar, is also notorious for drug-laced night-long rave parties and it is a known fact that the staff at Nine Bar sell drugs to patrons.
Last year, the owners of two popular beach shacks in North Goa’s Anjuna village were arrested after a police raid found waiters and patrons at the establishments in possession of drugs. Superintendent of Police (North Goa) Chandan Choudhury had confirmed the arrests of Edwin Nunes, owner of Curlies shack, and Rohan Shetty of Club Nyex — both cafes located in Anjuna on the beach.
According to a Times of India report, Sequeira had claimed that there’s a “free flow of drugs” in Calangute, with Nigerian drug peddlers openly asking tourists if they want drugs. “The situation has worsened in the last five years that Michael Lobo has been MLA. There are Nigerian drug peddlers everywhere on the Baga road and on Tito’s lane, and all these peddlers stay in Parra,” Sequeira had alleged.