Ephedrine drug bust case: Setback for Thane police, alleged mastermind indicted by US authorities

Chances of extradition or police being allowed interrogation remote

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published:May 30, 2017 2:33 am
Ephedrine drug bust case, Thane police, Thane police on Ephedrine drug bust case, mumbai news, indian express news  Vicky Goswami (File)

The Thane police’s efforts to interrogate alleged international drug lord Vicky Goswami in connection with the ephedrine drug bust case received a jolt after they got a letter from the US authorities stating that Goswami has been indicted by them in a New York court for a drug-related offence. The charges that Goswami has been booked under, the Thane police have been informed, carries a minimum jail term of 20 years and a maximum punishment of 100 years. Since the trial is due to begin, the Thane police are skeptical of their chances to get Goswami extradited to India or interrogate him.

A senior officer said: “Four days ago, we received a letter from US officials through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying Goswami had been indicted by them for conspiring to import heroin to the US. The chargesheet has been filed in a New York court where a trial is due to begin. The US officials believe that they have a strong case. At least for a 20 year-term, chances of him being extradited to India, or we being allowed to interrogate him, are remote.” The officer, however, said that the development will not impact the probe that they have carried so far. “Of course we would have liked to interrogate him further…,” the officer said.

The Thane police have informed a local court about the letter. “The letter should help us file a chargesheet against Goswami on the grounds that he is in US custody,” the officer said. Currently, the only wanted accused in the case is former starlet Mamta Kulkarni who is suspected to be in Kenya. The Thane police are in the process of getting a red corner notice issued against her.

Another officer said: “We will still try to get permission from the US authorities to interrogate Goswami in the US.” In January this year, Goswami and three of his accomplices, Ibrahim and Baktash Akasha and Gulam Hussein, a Pakistani national, had been extradited to the US from Kenya. They were accused of conspiring to import pure heroin to the US at a knock-down price. While Goswami was deported to the US from Kenya, India, too, had named him, along with his partner, former starlet Mamta Kulkarni, as a wanted accused in connection with the ephedrine drug bust case.

In April, 2016, the Thane police had busted a racket and claimed that ephedrine was being diverted illegally from a Solapur-based pharmaceutical company to manufacture narcotics. The police have so far arrested 14 persons and named five as wanted accused, including Kulkarni and Goswami. According to the police, Goswami was the mastermind of the racket and Kulkarni was assisting him.

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