On Thursday, when senior police officers from seven States got into a huddle, it was evident that the focus would be on the influx of narcotics and drug-related crimes. The agenda of the meeting was to strengthen ties between States to clamp down on crimes and to deliberate on the rise in drug cases. However, while top police officers from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Odisha were discussing drugs, the attention of the State was on the presence of Hyderabad police, who launched an offensive against drug lords.
The Hyderabad City police, in association with Goa police, has launched a manhunt for leading suppliers along the coastal belt and managed to arrest the owner of Hill Top nightclub in Vagator. However, the Curlies shack owner managed to ward off the investigation team on the premise of a Covid infection, while the owner of Hill Top nightclub resisted police action citing “heart transplant”, and even before the police team could swoop down on others associated with drugs, all accused who were on the radar went into hiding.
The biggest stumbling block for the visiting police force is that the drug lobby is moving one step ahead of its team and has, to a certain extent, foiled detention plans and subsequent action. The more significant challenge for the visiting team is finding the enemy in the camp, knowing well that the Goa police are also collaborating in this operation. A mole appears to leak crucial information to drug dealers, nullifying efforts to bust the drug trade. The question is whether the Goa police bosses can plug these leaks and reprimand those in connivance with the drug dealers.
The war against drugs has been triggered by the sensational Sonali Phogat death case and the political and family pressures that came along, and briefly, Goa may have seen the police force at its fiery best. But, the reality is strikingly different in a State where narcotics have always been part and parcel of tourism.
The crackdown on drugs by Goa police appeals to nobody because the same police who were protectors of law and those doing drug business are a part of the crackdown exercise. And we can understand why the Curlies structure demolition took over five days.
If the government is serious about taking on the drug lobby, it could have engaged upright and sincere police officers with a proven track record. The intent behind the current action is suspicious because the State government has not put its best officers on the job. The info leak of police plans is apparent and doesn’t surprise anyone except the Hyderabad police, who have little knowledge of how the system works here.
The visiting cops must understand the intricacies of the subject and review strategies. Engaging more hands from outstation teams could expose the weak links. The war on drugs can be a success only if there is a collective and sustained effort from police forces from other States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Hyderabad and others.