Goa ex-CM indicted in drug trade wants Congress ticket
A former Goa chief minister, who was indicted for his alleged link to the drug mafia and was also booked in a job scam, is trying for a Lok Sabha ticket on the argument that there is no charge sheet against him.
Congress sources said Ravi Naik, also a former state home minister, has been linked to the drug trade in a legislative committee report. He was also booked in a job scam case filed by the anti-corruption branch.
However, Naik could benefit from the logic presented by Congress leaders to defend former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, whose nephew has been charged with accepting bribes i the railways' cash-for-post scam.
"All India Congress Committee secretary Ranjit Surjewala has said Bansal should be given a ticket because there is no charge sheet against him, and, therefore, he cannot be called tainted."
"Naik's pleaders have presented a similar argument before the party high command while seeking a ticket for him," said a Congress leader who was member of the party's local screening committee.
Naik was embroiled in a series of controversies during his stint as Goa home minister in the erstwhile Congress-led government.
The legislative committee report on the police-drug mafia nexus that was submitted to the assembly last year indicted him and his son Roy Naik for their alleged links with the drug trade.
"Enormous amount of documentary evidence is available to pinpoint the identity and criminal engagement of Roy Naik, son of Ravi Naik, the then home minister of Goa in the drug trade in Goa," the report said.
It also said both the minister and his son, who was also his private secretary at the time, helped an alleged Israeli drug dealer named Atala jump bail.
"The then home minister was not only morally responsible, but actively accountable, for the bail-break of Atala, especially when his son, Roy Naik, was a kingpin of the drug mafia run by Atala," the report said.
Fiona MacKeown, mother of British teenager Scarlett Keeling who was sexually assaulted and killed on a Goa beach, named Naik in court for backing Goa's drug trade, a charge both Naik and his son have denied.
Sources said Naik may play the caste card in the 2014 polls.
Naik, who belongs to the Bhandari caste, is, however, expected to wean away the Bhandari caste votes from three-time North Goa Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shripad Naik, who too belongs to the same caste.
Ravi Naik Wednesday told reporters that he has almost clinched the Congress ticket, and that all the legislators were backing him.
"All the MLAs are backing me. I am confident of a win," he told the media.
(Posted on 13-03-2014)