Goa casino says cops were ‘guests’

Panaji, Nov 19 (Inditop.com) An offshore casino locked in a legal dispute with the Goa government has said that seven senior police officers seen on its premises last week were its guests and were not gambling.

MV Casino Royale said the officers did not pay the mandatory Rs.2,000 entry fee. “They were our guests and did not play in the casino.”

It was the casino’s first formal response to the media since a huge row broke out over published reports that the policemen were embarrassed after unexpectedly bumping into the journalists at the casino Nov 12.

The casino is fighting a legal battle with the administration over relocation from the Mandovi river where it is currently parked.

The seven policemen are Superintendents Bosco George, Atmaram Deshpande, Vishram Borkar and Arvind Gawas, Deputy Superintendents Serafin Dias and Gajanan Prabhudesai and Inspector Uttam Rautdessai.

Journalists who encountered the police officers told IANS they bumped into Dias on the gambling floor along with Prabhudesai and Rautdessai.

“They were shocked to see us. These officers told us that their bosses (four superintendents) were on the upper level, which has a restaurant and a live performance area,” a journalist said.

Another journalist said that when the reporters climbed up a level, what they saw was bizarre.

The officers, who had come to the casino after inaugurating a new police station with a belly dance, then bundled themselves into a small bar located behind the performance area. They refused to step out, until the media contingent vacated the scene.

Goa’s police chief has backed the seven police officers by saying that visiting the casino was akin to going to temples and churches, triggering a storm.

A furious Superintendent of Police George has accused the journalists of “drinking, eating and hogging” at the casino premises.

According to Sabina Martins, a former member of the Gos State Women’s Commission, such behaviour by senior policemen amounted to breach of trust to society.

“The issue is not of legality or illegality of partying, but breach of trust and confidence that people have in the police,” Martins said.