Politics : ‘Jungle Raj’ in Sunshine State: Goa CM in the line of fire over drugs & crime

By Sanjay Borkar

Panaji, Sep 4 : Since past ten days BJP’s Pramod Sawant government has been under fire over alleged murder of Tik Tok star Sonali Phogat in Anjuna-Goa and a recent incident of shootout on sand extraction worker at Curchorem in South District of the state.

The opposition has cornered the ruling BJP over the death of Phogat to whom alleged Methamphetamine drugs were given. The drug trade connected with this alleged murder not only echoed in Goa but also in Hyderabad, from where the top police official alleged that Goa Police never helped them to solve the cases of narcotics.

This gave an opportunity to the opposition parties in Goa to attack Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that drug trade is flourishing in Goa.

Phogat had come to Goa on August 22 and was staying at a hotel in Anjuna. She felt uneasy that night and the next morning she was taken to a private hospital in Anjuna where she was declared brought dead.

Goa Forward President and MLA Vijai Sardesai has criticised the BJP government over the drug trade issue.

“HOME MINISTER MUST SIT AT HOME. There’s nothing more insulting than the police of another state openly accusing #Goa police for not assisting with investigating #drug crime that’s made Goa the #DrugBowl of #India. Does non cooperation mean collusion? #Goans want to know,” Sardesai tweeted.

To make matters worse, a video wherein a top Hyderabad Police official accused the Goa police of not cooperating to solve drugs-related cases, went viral on social media leading to netizens slamming the Goa government.

However, the Goa Police swiftly clarified that no request was received for any assistance for the arrest of any of the accused persons from its Hyderabad counterpart.

“Our team had gone to Goa, but we couldn’t arrest Edwin Nunes. During the investigation of the Sonali Phogat case, the Goa Police named him. Then we got to know that all the drug peddlers involved in the case are from Goa only,” the Hyderabad Police official said in a video which has gone viral.

“Whenever we communicate with them (Goa Police), negative results come. If we try to nab someone (accused persons from Goa), we don’t get them. There is nothing to hide, I am telling openly that Goa Police are not cooperating,” Hyderabad Police said.

Responding, Goa Police has clarified that they have never received any request for assistance from their counterpart at Hyderabad.

Goa Police have so far arrested Edwin Nunes, Dattaprasad Gaonkar and Rama Mandrekar under the NDPS Act in Phogat’s case.

Congress MLA Michael Lobo has demanded that the BJP leader Sonali Phogat death case be handed over to the CBI as the real story of her death lies in Haryana.

His reaction came after the Goa Police arrested Sudhir Sangwan (Phogat’s PA) along with Sukwinder Singh in connection with the murder of Phogat.

“I agree with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who said that he is ready for a CBI inquiry in the matter. The crime may have happened in Anjuna (Goa), but the real story lies in Haryana,” he had said.

“There is a need for a CBI probe. I don’t think that Goa Police will come to a final conclusion. The investigation cannot be conducted by the police in Anjuna, who do not seem to know anything,” Lobo said.

However, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that the Goa Police are thoroughly investigating Phogat’s case and if the Haryana CM wants the case to be transferred then they will think over it. Special police team has been formed to investigate the case, which recently visited Haryana for further investigation.

AAP unit in Goa has stated that criminal activities have increased in the state and there is a need of a dedicated Home minister for the state’s benefit and has demanded resignation of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant as Home Minister.

AAP Goa unit President Adv Amit Palekar recently said that Sawant has been handling numerous other portfolios, which is why he is not able to control the law and order situation.

Criticising the BJP government over Sonali Phogat case and firing incident in which a sand extraction worker was shot dead at Curchorem in south Goa on Wednesday night, Goa Congress President Amit Patkar has said that the state is heading towards ‘Jungle Raj’ like Uttar Pradesh (as crimes are taking place) and if this continues then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will make Goa ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.

“Had you ever heard about a shootout taking place in Goa. Now the state is going in a different direction. Governance has totally collapsed. We are heading towards ‘Jungle Raj’ like Uttar Pradesh, if this continues then the BJP government will make Goa ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’,” he added while addressing a press conference in Panaji on Friday.

Referring to the incidents of alleged murder of Haryana BJP leader Sonali Phogat and shootout at Curchorem, Patkar said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant must come clear over the incident of crimes taking place or he should resign. “Law and order has failed in Goa,” he added.

“This is not a tourist destination. This is ‘Jungle Raj’ destination. The incident of Sonali Phogat and shootout at Curchorem have proved that law and order has collapsed in Goa,” he said.

Not only leaders of opposition parties, but netizens have also attacked the BJP government over these two incidents, which according to them, have brought bad name to the state.

To pacify the situation, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has directed the top officials of state administration and police to strengthen the Anti-Narcotics cell and has said that investigation of Phogat’s case is going in right direction.


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