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No organised drug gangs in Goa: Parrikar

Posted on Aug 20 2014 | IANS

Panaji, Aug 20 : Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday said there were no "organised gangs" that distribute drugs in the state.

"There are no organised gangs which specialise in distribution of drugs in the state," the chief minister said in a written reply in the assembly.

Parrikar's claim was contested by his own party legislator Michael Lobo who said drugs were common in the coastal belt and pushed by Nigerians and demanded their deportation.

The chief minister's comments come a few months after Director General of Police T.N. Mohan attracted flak from the opposition and civil society for trying to play down the menace of drugs and the drug mafia in Goa.

"There are drugs in Goa... but it is still my opinion that Goa is not Mexico," Mohan had said in May, adding that the presence of drugs in Goa was "nominal".

"While LSD and other prescription drugs etc. have sources outside India, ganja and charas are being carried and delivered in Goa through carriers...," Parrikar said Wednesday.

The comments were contradictory to the claims made by Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Michael Lobo from the coastal Calangute constituency, famous for its beaches as well as sale of narcotics.

Lobo has often accused police of being hand-in-glove with the drug mafia in Goa.

"The Nigerian and Russian mafia are going unchecked because police are scared of them. The Nigerians are very organised. If you go into Tito's Lane (in Calangute) at night, there are Nigerians openly asking tourists if they want 'coca', which is the street name of cocaine.

"So many police officers are themselves under suspension because of their nexus with the local and other drug mafias. In spite of all this, how can the DGP say there is no drug mafia in Goa," Lobo had said earlier.

Speaking in the state assembly Wednesday, Lobo said the sale of narcotics was on the rise in the coastal belt and while cocaine was once not commonly available on the streets of Calangute, it was now there in abundance.

"Cocaine is being pushed by Nigerians in Calangute. College students are being given drugs by Nigerians," Lobo said.

Goa, one of the most popular beach tourism destinations, is also known for easy availability of drugs.

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