FORMER actor Mamta Kulkarni, who has been named an accused in the Ephedrine drug bust case by the Thane police, Friday denied all accusations against her, saying she was a yogini and was ‘innocent’.
Kulkarni said she was being framed due to her proximity to an ‘individual’, suspected to be alleged druglord Vicky Goswami, also an accused in the case. Addressing a media gathering through a pre-recorded video message, with a battery of six lawyers hailing from Kenya, America, and India beside her, the former actor said: “This is kalyug, where the bad is glorified and the truth suppressed.”
Kulkarni’s lawyers alleged that the Thane police had implicated her in the case at the behest of the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). “America wants to extradite Goswami to their country. In order to ensure that the process is carried out smoothly, they are pressuring the Thane police to name her (Kulkarni) as an accused,” said Daniel Arshack, a US-based lawyer. “The question one needs to ask is what is the DEA doing in Thane. What is their interest in the case.”
Noted criminal lawyer and NCP MP Majeed Memon said, “The Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad is probing the same set of accused in another Ephedrine haul in Ahmedabad. The Ahmedabad case and the Thane case are linked. With the same evidence, the Gujarat ATS have not named Mamta as accused, while the Thane police have. How can there be two sets of facts in one case?.” Memon added, “If the police decide to extradite some of the accused and these case case papers go abroad, the fact that someone (Kulkarni) has been made an accused without evidence would bring disrepute to our justice system internationally.”
Memon added that they had met Union Minister of State, Home Affairs, Kiran Rijiju Thursday and told him about the shoddy investigation into the case. The lawyer said Rijiju ‘expressed shock’ on learning about how Jay Mukhi (another accused) had been tortured to give a false statement Cliff Ombeta, a Kenya-based lawyer who is known to Kulkarni, said,” She has become a spiritual person and hence initially she decided not to respond to the allegations made by the Thane police. However, now that we are reaching the stage of chargesheet, she has decided to speak up.”
The Thane police had named Kulkarni based on the statement of Jay Mukhi, who had alleged that Kulkarni was present at one of the drug meetings. But he later retracted his statement, alleging that the Thane police had tortured him into naming Kulkarni. While the Thane police claims that a retracted confession can be relied upon by the court as evidence, Parvez Memon, another lawyer hired by Kulkarni, said, “Even if the statement is taken on board by the court, the Thane police will have to provide some more evidence to substantiate the claims made by Mukhi. And they don’t have anything apart from the confession statement .”
The Thane police’s case is that Ephedrine, a controlled substance used in cough syrups, was being diverted from a local firm Avon LIfesciences Ltd to a Kenya-based drug cartel led by Goswami. The police have named Goswami, Kulkarni and five others as wanted accused. Goswami was to receive Ephedrine and use it to cook party drug meth, which would eventually be smuggled in to the US.