Yaniv Benaim alias Atala is probably one of the most known faces in Goa. After much effort, this man who controls the drug mafia in Goa, was finally extradited from Peru and was being interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday.
This man of Isreali origin was brought down to Goa last week and his interrogation is on at the moment. The end result of this interrogation is sure going to be a blockbuster since the information this man could provide will likely shake up the political circles in Goa, which has very often been accused of sheltering the drug mafia.
Sources in the investigating team say that the interrogation would not stick to the specific cases alone for which he has been booked.
"The interrogation will cover a lot of other aspects, and more importantly, there is a great need to bust the drug mafia in Goa," an official said.
After the arrest of Atala, the drug scene in Goa has not changed much, police officials say. Atala was very well connected and this gave him the guts to carry out operations in the open, they add.
However, that has changed as of now, and the business is more discreet, although there is absolutely no evidence to show that the racket has come down.
CBI sources say that at the moment Atala has not revealed much. He is a tough nut to crack and keeps information very close to his heart. The last time around when he was arrested he had given out information regarding the nexus between the drug mafia and the police/politicians. However, he was granted bail, but he managed to jump bail. He went to Peru from Goa where he was once again arrested.
Police sources say that the interrogation at that time was incomplete. While he was being interrogated the last time, his girlfriend Lucky had posted a video of him speaking about his connections in Goa.
It was around this time that the connection between him and Roy Naik, son of Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik, had come out in the open.
Sources in the CBI say that this is one of the major angles about which they have been questioning him, and so far the clues are trickling in slowly.
The CBI has even investigated the other three 'Roys' who are possible accomplices of Atala. This was based on the statement made by Ravi Naik himself while defending his son.
Naik had said on the floor of the state assembly that there are three other 'Roys' who are into this racket and the one everyone is speaking about is not his son.
However, after a lot of investigation, the police have found no other Roy, and hence, the son of the home minister, continues to be the prime suspect in this case at least.
Atala, the Goa police say, is a very big catch. He is the big link between the Russian, Nigerian and Israeli mafia which controls the drug trade in Goa. The cases against him are never ending.
In addition to this, he has the final say in the drug trade which is controlled at Calungute, Bagha, Anjuna, Colwa and the Arpora areas. He has been into this racket for the past 20 years.
Atala, according to investigators, controls a trade which is estimated to be worth around Rs 5,000 crore. He is connected not only in Goa, but in several other countries too.
He has to reveal more for the police to get a clue as to how the drugs are exactly smuggled into Goa. The drugs come in from the Af-Pak areas and most of it is transported through sea, investigators say.
However, what the CBI needs to crack is that how do these drugs continue to come in through the sea so easily despite the security along the coasts being stepped up after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
The CBI says it is keeping all doors open and the interrogation is going to take a long time. The CBI would look to get the names of the police officers and also the politicians involved with this man which helped him carry out his trade so brazenly in the open.
We would also be looking at an inter-state and country nexus involved in this trade, sources in the CBI added.
Image: File picture of Yaniv Benaim alias Atala