Panaji: Goa Forward Chief Vijai Sardesai, while addressing media in the state capital, said that much before the 2022 Assembly elections, Goa Forward had exposed the Bharatiya Janata Party as the patron of the flourishing illicit drug business in Goa and even called it the Bharatiya Ganja Party.
“The BJP leadership and its spokesmen were quick to dismiss this as ridiculous and unfounded. Now with Hyderabad City Commissioner CV Anand boldly speaking out, and stating on record that the nexus does exist, we stand vindicated,” Sardesai said while addressing a press conference reaching to expose by Goemkarponn.
He said the Commissioner’s comments are shocking and alarming, to say the least, and show how much Goa has deteriorated under this government and that powerful drug lords were operating in the state freely and fearlessly.
“The most startling comment he made was that the Hyderabad City Police were told that any stringent action on drugs would affect tourism in the state! It’s frightening that we’ve reached a very low point in governance where the state has become dependent on illicit activities to generate revenue,” Vijai said.
The commissioner also said that the movements of his teams were leaked to the drug lords, to thwart attempts to break the nexus and free Goa from this menace. These are serious charges as these were made by none other than a top police official of an Indian state, said Sardesai.
Sardesai further said that in the year 2020, he had exposed the government’s move to legalise ganja in Goa, following which the chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant had assured Goa, in Jan 2021, on the floor of the house, that the government would drop the said proposal.
“But in September 2022, when we sent a letter RTI to the Public Health Department, we received a reply stating that the file is under submission and is with the law department. Subsequently, we filed an RTI with the Law Department, and we received a reply that the file was under submission. Our Party then wrote to both the secretaries (Public Health & Law) in this regard. Unfortunately, both of them chose not to reply,” he said, adding we then sent a final reminder on 9th Jan 2023 warning the government of our intention to approach the High Court if they failed to reply to our queries under RTI.
“We received a reply on 3rd Feb 2023 asking us to collect the entire file. While going through the file jottings, it was interesting to see that even though the CM had made a statement on the floor of the house, the intentions of the government were dubious and questionable. The process the file went through, and its chronology show evidence of mala fide intent and activity,” he said.
On 5th Jan 2021, Secretary to the CM called for the file, and on 6th Jan 2021, on a new noting page, CM signed it, probably backdated, mentioning that the proposal was dropped. Then the file is sent to PHD on 30th Jan 2023 (After Two Years), and the file reaches FDA on 01st Feb 2023. Then we received a letter dated 3rd Feb 2023 asking us to collect the RTI reply. This exposes the deceitful and mischievous intentions of the government. Sardesai added that while going through the file, he discovered a draft named ‘Goa Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Rules 2020, which was kept ready!
Sardesai further said that the Goa government must take concrete steps to eradicate drugs and to crack down on the politician-criminal nexus, which had now led to the rampant extortion along the coastal belt, which BJP MLA Michael Lobo himself exposed.
If the Sawant regime continues to be callous and indifferent to this issue, that has disastrous consequences for Goa’s future, which we will have to raise this matter in the Assembly, Sardesai warned.