The Russian Consulate has rubbished the often-repeated claims about existence of "Russian mafia" in Goa and its investments in the state's lucrative tourism industry.
"There is nothing called Russian mafia. There are no gun-wielding people on the streets of Moscow. It's a wrong impression that Russian mafia exists and they are operating in Goa," Alexey Novikov, Consul General of Russian Federation in Mumbai, told PTI today.
Novikov was here to meet Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The envoy maintained that reports about existence of Russian mafia in the coastal state are "absolute lie".
"There may be some bad people but you cannot term them as members of a mafia. There are bad people in every community."
In past, apprehensions had been raised over increasing investment from Russia in the tourism industry.
Fears were raised in certain quarters that people connected to Russian mafia were off-loading their investments in Goa, which attracts over half a million foreign tourists every year.
Novikov said the "mafia" existing in Goa comprised local gangs.
"We hope that Parrikar will eliminate that mafia and make Goa a much better place for tourists. The Consul General said he knows "who was chief of mafia in Goa and his relation with some former Ministers".
More than one lakh Russians visited Goa during the last financial year, the largest number from a foreign country.
The Russian Government has predicted 50 per cent rise in tourist inflow into Goa in the coming years.