Tuesday 26 Sep 2023

Thriving drug nexus in Colvale jail may be exposed soon, here is how



The Goa Police is heavily relying on forensic analysis of voice samples retrieved from a recorded phone conversation between a jail guard and an undertrial, a crucial piece of evidence that will expose that drug nexus is thriving in Colvale Central Jail.

Though a chargesheet has already been filed against jail guard Suraj Gawde for smuggling drugs in the so-called high-security prison, the police are awaiting the forensic report to strengthen their case for an upcoming trial. 

The suspended official had confessed to Colvale police that the narcotic contraband brought by him from one Yogesh Pagi in Cuncolim was to be delivered to undertrial prisoner Vikat Bhagat. 

The undertrial is behind bars since 2017 for allegedly raping and killing an Irish national in Canacona.

Despite the confession, supposed uncooperative behaviour by Prisons officials gave police a hard time during the investigation. Both Gawde and Pagi are currently on conditional bail.

Highly placed sources told The Goan that several official communiqués from the district police to the Prisons Department has not fetched a fruitful outcome. 

“Seizure of the SIM card and the mobile phone used within and outside the jail premises was sought by the police. The Jail officials were approached for assistance but the result was zero. Either irrelevant seizures were made or they didn't reply to us,” an official, privy to the development, said.  

With little evidence and only a confession in possession of the police, the investigation team recently sent voice samples of the accused persons to a Central Forensic Science Laboratory even as the chargesheet was filed before the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mapusa.

“Once we get the analysis report, it will make the police case stronger. Nevertheless, prima facie the police investigation has confirmed that the jail guard had procured drugs to deliver to the inmate,” the official said.

During a bail hearing in June, public prosecutor R Barretto had raised the possibility of a planned and well-coordinated nexus. “Involvement of more accused persons is suspected who worked in close coordination with the jail guard to facilitate the trafficking of illegal narcotics contraband into the Colvale Jail,” the PP had stated.

In another case involving Sandesh Varak, a security guard attached to Goa State Human Resources Development, the Colvale police filed a charge sheet before the same magistrate.

Varak was caught with suspected Ganja and Cocaine which he had confessed was to supply to a jail inmate Satish Koli. Some inmates have reportedly confessed about the nexus, which have been recorded by the police. The Goan tried to speak to Prisons officials, who remained unavailable for comment.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had earlier this month announced his government’s decision to hand over the entire security management of the Central Jail to the police department in the backdrop of several incidents of illegalities reported from the jail.

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