Six Goa policemen held for links to narcotics mafia (Lead)

March 18th, 2010 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 18 (IANS) Six police personnel, including a suspended senior inspector, of Goa were Thursday arrested for links with an Israeli drug dealer here.
All the six accused — senior police inspector Ashish Shirodkar, head constable Hussein Shaikh and four police constables Saish Pokle, Sanjay Parab, Sandip Parab and Ramchandra Kankonkar — were booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act after they were found having links with Israeli drug dealer Yaniv Benaim alias Atala.

Deputy Inspector General of Police R.S. Yadav told IANS: “In all, six people have been arrested under the PCA and the NDPS Act by the Crime Branch for their links to Atala.”

He said all the six policemen were earlier attached to the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC), a police unit tasked to counter drug trade.

Shirodkar was named by Atala, in a spy cam video, as the officer who used to sell drugs seized by the ANC back to the drug peddlers. He has also been accused of accepting a bribe of Rs.1 lakh to release a drug peddler.

Atala’s video surfaced on YouTube earlier this month. In it, he speaks to an unidentified person about policemen linked to the narcotics mafia in Goa.

The Goa police’s Crime Branch, whose role in investigating links of senior police officials with the narcotics mafia came for criticism by the opposition, had told a local court Wednesday that seized drugs worth crores of rupees lying in the police godown could have been secretly sold by police personnel to the narcotics mafia over the years.

“Since 2000, the drugs destruction committee has never carried out any destruction of drugs,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Chandrakant Salgaonkar told the additional sessions court in a written statement.

“If any of the drugs from the godown are found to be missing, the same should be recovered from Ashish Shirodkar,” he added.

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