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Goa minister promises action against tainted cop

Panaji, March 4 (IANS) Action will be initiated within 48 hours against a senior police inspector alleged to have links with the narcotics mafia in Goa, state Home Minister Ravi Naik said Thursday.

Naik’s statement comes a couple of hours after Goa Director General of Police (DGP) Bhim Sain Bassi insisted that only after his guilt was proved action would be taken against police inspector Ashish Shirodkar – who has been named by an alleged Israeli drug dealer Atala on spycam footage as a beneficiary of the narcotics mafia.

‘The police department is studying the footage. I can assure you that action will be taken within 48 hours,’ Naik told reporters.

‘This should not have happened at all. If officers who are supposed to work for the people and hit the drugs lobby, are acting like this, we will not spare them,’ Naik said.

Meanwhile, Shirodkar, formerly head of the anti-narcotics cell (ANC), was called to the police headquarters for questioning by the DGP, in the wake of two spycam videos floating on the internet, which show Atala, a notorious narcotics dealer, speaking about how the officer often sold him drugs seized by the ANC and at times even bought drugs from him.

Atala, in the videos shot in April 2008, also mentions specific instances where Ashish Shirodkar had taken money to release drug peddlers arrested in an ANC raid. Shirodkar then headed the ANC, a specialised unit started by the Goa police in the 1980s to tackle the drugs, narcotics mafia.

Earlier, Bassi refused to act against Shirodkar until ‘his guilt is proved’.

‘We will consider administrative action only once his guilt is proved,’ Bassi told reporters, when asked if the officer would be suspended or transferred.

‘Any police officer who is found involved in unacceptable proportion, we will take action against him if sustainable evidence is found. The ANC will investigate the case soon,’ the state police chief said.

The Goa police are struggling to come clean of allegations of being hand in glove with the booming narcotics mafia in the state, with three police officials having already been accused of being on the take by yet another Israeli drug peddler David Driham alias Dudu, who was arrested by the ANC last month.

In his deposition to the police, Dudu has named three journalists whom he had bribed for covering up his narcotics dealings.

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