IN WHAT could come as a blow to the Thane police’s case against actor Mamta Kulkarni, one of the witnesses who had testified before a magistrate about the actor being involved in the drug trade has now filed an application before the court and sought to retract his statement.
Jay Mukhi, one of the arrested accused in the case, had earlier told the police that Kulkarni had attended a meeting in Kenya where it was discussed that ephedrine from India would be used to make party drug Meth.
Mukhi has, however, filed an application to retract his statement now and alleged that he gave it under duress after being tortured by the Thane police.
In the ephedrine case, the Thane police have so far arrested 10 persons, including Jay Mukhi, and named seven others, including Kulkarni and druglord Vicky Goswami, as wanted persons.
The police case is that the accused had planned to use ephedrine from Avon Lifesciences Limited, a Solapur-based pharma company, to cook Meth in Kenya and then sell it to the US.
In the application filed before the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court, Mukhi has alleged that he was badly beaten and given electric shocks by the Thane police. He has alleged that he was deprived of sleep and “made to work like a servant”. He has also claimed that police pressured his family members, and owing to all these measures, he was forced to give the statement before a magistrate.
In this statement before the magistrate, Mukhi had said that in a meeting he attended on January 8 at Hotel Bliss in Kenya, Kulkarni, Goswami and the other accused were present. He had said that at this meeting, the modalities of how the ephedrine was to be transferred to Kenya and where it was to be stored had been decided.
Based primarily on the statements given by Mukhi, the Thane police had on June 17 named Kulkarni as an accused in the case.
The police, on the other hand, have denied any wrong doing. “When the statement of a person is recorded by a magistrate, he is no longer in police custody. He is in the custody of the magistrate who gives him enough time to think over his decision to give a statement. How can we torture him to give a statement before the magistrate when he was not in our custody?” an officer said.
He added, “Even at a later date, while appearing before a special court, Mukhi stood by the statement he had given before the magistrate.”
Another senior officer added that Mukhi had been placed in Thane jail and was possibly intimidated to retract his statement. “Earlier, as well, another accused Punit Shringi had been threatened at the Thane prison after which his barrack had to be changed. This case seems no different. The accused are influential people and it would not take much for them to threaten those in jail,” the officer added.