Goa BJP legislator booked for forcibly taking away bootleggers

Panaji, April 29 (Inditop) A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Goa has been booked for forcibly whisking away two bootleggers, who were accused of smuggling liquor into Karnataka for distribution during the election campaign.

Legislator Ramesh Tawadkar was named in a police complaint by the forest department Tuesday, two days after he took away the bootleggers. Two other people also have been named for cheating, unlawful assembly, rioting and trespass.

According to a forest department official, Tawadkar stormed into the forest department checkpost at the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary April 26 and forcibly took away Manoj Padwalkar and Gajanan Naik, who were nabbed with liquor on the same day by the forest department.

The inter-state bootleggers were caught while they were trying to smuggle illicit liquor into Karnataka for distribution during the poll campaign. Goa’s liquor is in high demand in Karnataka.

“The legislator stormed in and abused us. He challenged us to stop him, as he forcefully blocked us and took the bootleggers with him,” forest department officials attached to the wildlife sanctuary told IANS. Tawadkar is a BJP legislator from Goa’s Poinguinim constituency.

Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, however, has countered that the Congress-led government was targeting BJP legislators.

“This is purely an excise department case as it involves illicit transport of liquor. The forest officials have no business booking a legislator here. I have demanded a full probe into the incident,” Parrikar said.

Meanwhile, Tawadkar has filed a counter complaint against Range Forest Officer (RFO) Paresh Parab for mercilessly beating up the two accused.

“They cannot beat anybody up. The duo were booked at Hattipaul, in my constituency where they were being beaten up, when I intervened,” he said.