Two youths die of suspected drug overdose in Goa

Panaji: The death of two youths, allegedly of drug overdose, after birthday celebrations at a Goa village has generated a controversy here. The youths died at Maina-Curtorim, a village located 40 km from Panaji on Monday, known for its narcotics-related activities.

Parag Raikar, 26, and Rodson Monteiro, 21, were among the 40-odd invitees at a birthday party organised by Alston D'Mello in the early hours of Monday. Raikar and Monteiro were found unconscious after the celebrations amid the litter of liqour bottles, cigarettes and a "narcotics like white powder", claimed by the police officials.

While the opposition has claimed that police inaction has resulted in the narcotics menace making inroads into Goa's interiors from the coastline, which is known as a hub for tourism as well as drug use, police are now waiting for a post mortem report expected on Tuesday to take the investigation ahead.

"We are investigating the drug angle," deputy superintendent of police Mohan Naik told reporters, adding that viscera extracted from both bodies was dispatched to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad for analysis. According to superintendent of police (south Goa) Shekhar Prabhudessai, the post mortem report on the remains of the two youths will be submitted to police on Tuesday afternoon.

"We will be able to tell you more about this tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon," he said. "As the local MLA, I visited the site, it was smelling of drugs. If the police fail to probe that angle, we will go on protest," Congress MLA from Curtorim Aleixo Reginaldo told IANS.

Over the last three years, several agencies, including the Anti-Narcotics Cell have conducted on an average at least one drug raid every month and seized a variety of narcotics and psychotropic substances including, cocaine, heroin, hashish, marijuana and ketamine worth several crore.

Most of the raids were conducted in Goa's coastal belt popular for tourists, nightlife and narcotics. After taking over as chief minister, Laxmikant Parsekar even said in November last year, that a section of the tourists come to Goa for drugs alone.

But what worries opposition legislators like Reginaldo is the increasing availability of drugs in Goa's hinterland. "Narcotics is making inroads in Goa's hinterland away from the coastline. It is a dangerous sign and has to be cracked down upon," He said.

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