Alleged drug peddler, Shashikala Patankar alias Baby Patankar, accused of supplying mephedrone to a police constable, was granted bail by a special NDPS Court on Wednesday. The defence argued that mephedrone was not found in her possession.
According to Patankar’s lawyer Neel Gavankar, the court granted bail on the ground that the chemical analysis report of samples of the seized drugs was found negative for mephedrone and positive for Ajinomoto. He added that the fact, that Patankar was not found in actual possession of the drugs and that she was implicated in the case based on statements of the co-accused, helped in getting her bail.
“The evidence against her are statements of other accused, which have absolutely no value under law, unless it is recorded before a magistrate,” Gavankar said. Patankar has been released on bail in the case registered by the Marine Drive police station and now being probed by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch. However, she is yet to be released on bail in the Satara case. She remains behind bars at the Byculla women’s jail. Her bail surety has been set at Rs 5 lakh.
Gavankar argued that the allegation that Patankar had collected a large consignment of mephedrone on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in April 2014, accompanied by her son – Satish Patankar, was not admissible, as the drug was not banned under the NDPS Act at the time of the alleged incident. Mephedrone became a scheduled substance only in February 2015. However, the crime branch has claimed that the transaction took place at the end of February 2015 and Patankar received the drugs from another arrested accused – Gyan Samuel.
The crime branch opposed the bail, citing that it had not recovered her passport and she had amassed a lot of wealth over the years. The crime branch claimed that Patankar owned 22 properties in Mumbai and Pune and had Rs 1.2 crore in fixed deposits. However, Gavankar claimed that the passport had been submitted to the court.
Patankar’s daughter-in-law Sarika Patankar said that the bail offer has relieved the family. “We are trying to put money together to pay the surety. We are now hopeful that she will also get bail in the Satara case and we can bring her home. She has been in ill health in jail, suffering from high blood pressure and back aches,” she said. Dismissed constable Dhamaraj Kalokhe was arrested on March 11 after 112 kg of mephedrone was found in his house in Satara and 12 kg of the drug was seized from his locker in Marine Drive police station two days later. Patankar was held in April while she was trying to enter Mumbai, after a month on the run.