THE FORENSIC report of the first batch of Ephedrine samples sent by the Thane police to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has confirmed that the drug found at the Solapur unit by Thane police was indeed Ephedrine. The Thane police had raided the Solapur unit of Avon Lifesciences Limited unit on April 16 and claimed that nearly 20 tonne of Ephedrine they found there was being diverted to be used for making party drugs. Ephedrine 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.
A senior officer said they had sent the Ephedrine samples to the state FSL in two batches: the first batch had 43 samples, while the second batch was of 53 samples. “We have received reports of the first batch from the FSL which states that the samples we sent contains 80-99 per cent Ephedrine,” the officer said. A forensic expert said no chemical has 100 per cent purity and it could be said the sample sent was that of Ephedrine.
This gains significance considering there have been drug-related cases that have fallen apart after the FSL reports stated that the product seized was not drugs. Recently, in the case of Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, two samples of what the Mumbai Police claimed was mephedrone were reported to be ajino-moto by the FSL, thereby giving a major setback to the case.
One of the defence lawyers in the case however said they wanted to know if the samples whose report has come were the ones seized from inside the unit or from the compound. “We are not questioning the fact that there was Ephedrine kept inside the company and they had the necessary permission for it. We are sceptical about the Ephedrine sample found in the building compound. We believe it was just what was leftover after Ephedrine was made in the company and had no value. We want to see what is the test result for that sample,” the lawyer said requesting anonymity. When questioned about the same, an officer said they had sent mixed samples and he was not sure which batch contained which sample. An FSL official said they should be able to send the report of the second batch within a week’s time.
Apart from the FSL report, the police are also interrogating Sanjay Sharma, Branch Manager of a bank where former actress Mamta Kulkarni held an account. An officer said they have so far found seven bank accounts that the actress holds in Mumbai and Gujarat.
“Sharma, who is a bank manager, opens a new account for the actress whenever he shifts banks,” a senior IPS officer said. Another officer said they are checking the bank accounts to see if any of the money that is transferred to the account has been routed to pay any of the other accused arrested in the case. “If the money trail proves that the payments to other accused were made using the bank accounts operated by the actress, she could land in trouble,” an officer said.