THE THANE police are likely to file a chargesheet against Kishore Rathod, son of a former Gujarat MLA, in connection with his alleged involvement in the ephedrine drug bust case. According to the police, Rathod has given information about several meetings which were organised in Kenya to discuss the logistics of manufacturing ephedrine and sending it to India. These meetings were held in Mombasa and were attended by international drug lord Vicky Goswami, among others, the police said. The Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad, probing another case of ephedrine smuggling linked to the Thane case against Rathod, filed a chargesheet against him last week.
Assistant commissioner of Police Bharat Shelke, who is investigating the case, said, “We will be filing the chargesheet against Rathod in a day or two. His interrogation has helped us figure out who all were involved in the drug trade.” The police said that Rathod has told them that in addition to accused from India who have already been arrested in the case and Goswami, one Dr Abdullah and another Kenyan national also attended the meetings.
“We are now trying to find out the identity of this Kenyan national who Rathod has been talking about. The name of Dr Abdullah cropped up earlier as well but we have not been able to track him down,” an officer, adding, “While the accused we have arrested so far interacted with Dr Abdullah and the Kenyan national, they did not know the identities of these people.”
The officer added that the only person who knew these people was Goswami, who was extradited to the US earlier this year. The Thane police team has expressed interest in sending a team to the US to interrogate Goswami. “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the US has agreed to give us access to Goswami. We will now be applying to the Central government.”
The Thane police had arrested a Nigerian national in April last year with ephedrine. Based on his information, the police arrested several drug peddlers who led authorities to the office of a firm, Avon Lifesciences Ltd, located in Solapur MIDC, from where they allegedly recovered 18.5 tonnes of ephedrine.
The police then arrested the senior production manager of the unit. Interrogation of these senior officials revealed that international drug lord Vicky Goswami, based out of Kenya, was one of the top operatives involved in the racket. The police also suspect that two other Kenya-based drug lords — Bakhtash and Ibrahim Akasha — are involved in the racket.
Ephedrine, the sale of which is banned in India, is popularly used overseas to treat asthma and bronchitis. Its abuse is known to cause euphoria, hypertension and nausea. It is also used to produce the popular narcotic Methamphetamine.
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