Goa assembly erupts over drug claims against minister

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Lawmakers on Tuesday caused uproar in Goa's legislative assembly as they demanded a debate on a British woman's claims that the Indian state's interior minister was linked to the drug trade.

"This is a serious matter. Home Minister Ravi Naik has been accused of heading the drug trade," said lawmaker Manohar Parrikar as members of his opposition Bharatiya Janata Party stormed the well of the debating chamber.

The session was adjourned twice but the speaker refused to allow discussion of the issue so as not to prejudice the on-going trial where the claims were made.

On Monday, Fiona MacKeown accused Naik in court of heading a powerful drugs cartel in the former Portuguese colony and his son of plying her daughter Scarlett Keeling with narcotics before her death in February 2008.

MacKeown also said she suspected the politician of involvement in the 15-year-old's death because of a catalogue of alleged cover-ups by police and the investigating authorities after her body was found.

Two local men are currently on trial charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, using force with intent to outrage a woman's modesty and administering a drug with intent to harm.

Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, later told reporters that the claims against Naik and his son should be investigated by federal officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The state's flamboyant, hip-hop loving former tourism minister Francisco "Mickey" Pacheco has also demanded a probe. Pacheco is currently on bail after being arrested following the death of a close female friend.

© 2010 AFP

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