Goa police contradict home minister’s comments on Israeli drug dealer (Lead)

August 25th, 2010 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Aug 25 (IANS) Israeli drug dealer Yaniv Benaim alias Atala’s disappearance after jumping bail cannot be blamed on the police, Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik, whose son is alleged to be linked to the drug trade, said Wednesday. A police spokesperson, however, questioned Naik’s statement, saying that “not just an enquiry, but a full fledged probe has been initiated into Atala’s disappearance”.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Naik said he had not ordered an inquiry into Atala’s jumping bail, hinting that the drug mafia case was a result of media hype.

“I have not even ordered a formal enquiry. He (Atala) has gone. He will come back,” Naik said, adding that the drug dealer jumping bail was not because of a police lapse.

“It’s not a failure of the police, we had not kept him under surveillance. There are so many cases and so many accused on bail, we cannot go on keeping watch on everyone,” Naik said.

Naik also said that the opposition was raising the drug mafia case only because it gave them publicity in the media.

Atala, was arrested in March for his links to the police-politician-drug mafia nexus. Seven policemen have already been arrested in the case. Atala was granted bail in June.

He was last seen at the resort he was residing in July 9, according to police.

Police spokesperson Atmaram Deshpande addressing a press conference later in the day said that “a full fledged search operation has been initiated into Atala’s disappearance”, contradicting Naik’s statement earlier in the day. Deshpande, who is superintendent of police (CID) also, said that a look out notice had been issued, albeit 17 days after Atala’s disappearance was taken cognisance by the police.

“His associates are being asked about his whereabouts. The foreigners registration office (FRO) has issued lookout notices to block his exit and inform all the immigration check posts. All police stations in Goa have been alerted and teams have been sent to neighbouring states,” Deshpande said.

“We have moved the court to cancel his bail,” he added.

Naik’s son Roy was allegedly linked to the mafia by Lucky Farmhouse, a Swedish model and Atala’s ex-girlfriend. Both Naik and his son have denied the allegation.

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