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Cops’ casino visit official: Goa home minister


Panaji : A month after seven police officers left Goa police red-faced by creating a stir aboard an offshore casino, state Home Minister Ravi Naik clarified that they had not only visited the vessel but had also dined on the vessel; compliments of the management.

Naik has, however, claimed in a statement that the 10 p.m. Nov 12 offshore casino visit by the officers, which included four superintendents of police, two deputy superintendents of police and one police inspector, was official, for “familiarisation” with top casino official Narender Punj.

“The officers saw live gaming in progress and after having been answered about various aspects of gaming, especially from the cheating and frauds in the game point of view, the officers came back to the restaurant,” Naik said in a written statement to the Goa legislative assembly Thursday.

“They never played any game. They left the ship after dinner,” the home minister added.

Earlier in the statement, Naik said that the officers – Superintendents of Police Bosco George (North district), Arvind Gawas (Traffic), Atmaram Deshpande, Vishram Borkar and three other senior officials – had been invited to visit the offshore casino by the management.

Naik’s statement is in contrast to earlier statements by top ranking police officers, who a day after the casino jaunt had denied commenting on their presence onboard the casino.

Goa Director General of Police Bhimsain Bassi had then likened visiting casinos to “visiting temples and churches” and added that his officers were off duty, when they were visiting the casino.

“The home minister is in agreement with me and the honourable leader of opposition has also said that there is nothing wrong with a person in his private capacity going to any place which is legal,” Bassi had then said.

The officers partying onboard offshore casino vessel MV Casino Royale had created a stir after they locked themselves up in a bar room to avoid a media contingent who were invited on board for a press conference.

The senior officers stayed cooped up inside Aqua, the bar on board the casino vessel, until the media vacated the premises.

The state administration has already asked the director general of police to conduct a formal enquiry into the incident and submit a report to the chief secretary.