Goa police : Menace for tourists ?

| 19 April 1997 23:19 IST

A case of three police personnel, including a PSI in-charge of a taluka police station, being suspended for illegally extorting money from foreign tourists has proved a fact that guardians of law are involved in criminal acts in the tourist state.

The modus operandi is simple. Catch any foreign tourist walking on the road and forcibly put a gram or two of narcotics into his pocket. Threaten to implicate him in a case for which imprisonment can be over 10 years and extort foreign exchange. The Baga-Calangute-Candolim belt in the North, where hordes of foreigners come, is the 'fertile area'. Most active in it is the anti-narcotic cell.

Despite several complaints, the state authorities have been turning blind eye towards it for over five years now. In fact, this is one of the reasons why decent foreign tourists have been shying away from Goa. But an incident which took place in Arambol, a beach in Pernem taluka, has shaken the 'criminals' in the police department as the PSI had to lose his job for it.

Stuart William Kanauras and Clarie Blatchfard, holidaying at Arambol in December last, were victims of extortion tactics of PSI Uday Parab, paying him $ 700. But instead of succumbing to the pressure for the second time, when the PSI demanded $ 800 more while confiscating their passports, the couple rushed to the British high commission office in Mumbai for help.

The deputy high commissioner Douglas Barreto airdahsed to Goa to file a formal complaint before the higher authorities. IGP P S R Brar immediately suspended the policemen once they were proved guilty in the inquiry conducted by a senior police official. He has now decided to give personal hearing to all the accused arrested in drug cases by his department.

Though doping is a common feature found among over 70 per cent foreigners visiting Goa, hardly any foreigner is arrested by the police. Statistics since November '95 reveals that 52 persons were arrested for possessing drugs, out of which 32 are Indians, followed by 7 Israelis and 3 Nepalese. Innocents sometimes become the victims besides few addicts possessing little dope for consumption. But rarely in any case the real drug peddlers are held by the police.

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