January 12, 2014 11:39:44 pm
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) late on Saturday night placed Yash Birla Group President (Corporate Affairs), Anant Vardhan Pathak, and two of his staff under arrest for allegedly possessing 4.5 grams of cocaine in their suite at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Pathak, his domestic help Dharmu Rathod (29), and personal security officer Dilip Palekar (31) were produced before a holiday magistrate on Sunday afternoon and remanded in NCB custody till January 16, said officials. The accused have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), 1985.
Pathak’s counsel Pervez Memon said the Income Tax (I-T) Department had attempted to frame his client and his confession had been retracted in court. “We have accessed CCTV footage from the hotel, which shows that the I-T department had conducted the raid on January 7 and found the drugs. They detained my client for three days and said they would inform the NCB if he did not confess against Yash Birla. My client refused and the I-T tipped off the NCB,” he said.
“The NCB has charged my client with possession though the cocaine was not found on his person,” Memon said.
According to NCB’s remand application, the cocaine was found in Rathod’s possession. The samples were sent to the Kalina Forensic Sciences Laboratory for testing.
Sources in the NCB said Pathak, a resident of the Nepean Sea Road, Rathod, and Palekar (31), were at the hotel for a business meeting on Friday, when the I-T Department came knocking. The raid was part of the larger investigation into the group’s finances.
The NCB said Pathak confessed that he had given the cocaine to Rathod, who in turn, gave it to Palekar.
“We have begun investigations. The samples will first be tested for purity, only then can we estimate its worth,” said NCB Zonal Director Rohit Kathiyar. Pathak, he said, has been co-operating with the investigation.
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