Russian, Israeli mafia exist in Goa, says Wikileaks cable

Panaji, April 19 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar does not believe that Russian and Israeli mafias operate in Goa, but Mumbai police are sure of it, Wikileaks has claimed citing a recently declassified US diplomatic cable.

The cable dispatched by Mumbai Consul General Paul Folmsbee in 2009 quotes former head of Mumbai Crime Branch Rakesh Maria saying that trafficking of foreign women prostitutes to Mumbai is controlled by Israeli and Russian mafia lords operating from Goa.

“Maria alleged that most trafficking of foreigners to Mumbai is connected to Russian and Israeli mafia operations in Goa, explaining why Mumbai police had not cracked the trafficking ring(s),” Folmsbee’s cable numbered 09MUMBAI305 back home to the US administration said.

Maria is currently the head of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism squad and was one of the lead investigators in the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai.

Earlier this week, Parrikar had assured the Goa legislative assembly that there were no foreign mafias in Goa.

“Russian, German or Israeli mafias are not existing in the state of Goa,” said Parrikar, who was responding to a question from Congress legislator Reginaldo Lourenco.

Over the last few years, the assembly has been host to numerous instances when legislators have alleged that foreign mafias have been controlling the sex and narcotics trade in Goa.

The cable, however, said that tracking the kingpins of these trafficking cartels was proving to be very difficult for Mumbai police, and that most Indian women who were trafficked abroad were disguised as “classical Indian dancers”.

“Maria said that trafficking of Indian women abroad for sex work often takes place under the cover of cultural shows like classical Indian dancers. He said that many Indian women are trafficked to the United Kingdom on visas for cultural dancers, but use the dancing as a front to solicit sex,” Folmsbee said, drawing a comparison to dance bars in Mumbai.

Dance bars proved to be good recruiting grounds for traffickers as women working there were willing to go abroad to make more money.

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