Mamta Kulkarni was to be Thane drug racket's front: Cops
A red corner notice has been issued by the Thane police against former actress Mamta Kulkarni over her alleged involvement in the R2,000-crore ephedrine haul of April.
Mamta Kulkarni has been booked in the case along with (inset) husband Vicky Goswami
The police believe that Kulkarni played a pivotal role in the international drug cartel run by her husband, Vicky Goswami, and that the Thane drug haul was only a small cog in the wheel of the racket.
They have booked Kulkarni, Goswami and a Dr Abdulla, the drug lord's international associate, in the drug haul case, and are expected to seek the actress' extradition from Kenya.
The police laboured over two months to join the dots between the racket and Kulkarni. The US' Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has been on Goswami's heels, also provided crucial evidence on her involvement. The DEA had also helped the cops access Goswami communications of last month, and told them that both Kulkarni and Goswami are in Kenya.
"We took the statement of two witnesses under Section 164 of the CrPC. Both pointed at the involvement of Mamta Kulkarni, Vicky Goswami, Jay Mukhi, Manoj Jain, Kishor Rathod (ringleaders of the Thane racket), Dr Abdulla and his two associates. All of them met on January 1 this year in Kenya. There was a second meeting at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which Goswami and his associates did not attend," said Parambir Singh, commissioner of police, Thane.
Chosen over Goswami
As per the statements of the witnesses, Kulkarni was to be made the director of Avon Life Sciences Limited, from whose factory in Solapur the drugs were seized. Avon has 2 crore shares, each with a market price of Rs 35-40. At the first meeting, it was allegedly agreed upon that shares worth Rs 11 lakh would be transferred in Kulkarni's name and that she would be made the company's director.
The racketeers had chosen Kulkarni as Goswami was already on wanted lists. The meeting also fixed the price of meth it got from the ephedrine at USD 50,000/kg. "Around 100 kg ephedrine was recently sent from Mohammad Ali Road to Kenya as air cargo. We are yet to get details on the supply," said Singh.
The plan was to 'clean' the ephedrine and reduce it to methamphetamine. (Even if 30 per cent of ephedrine is removed, the remaining is all meth.) "The cleaning process of ephedrine to meth was to be carried out at a farm in Tanzania," revealed Singh.
The police had also found out last month that a haul of 1,300 kg of ephedrine seized by the Gujarat police recently was to be sent to Goswami through shipping routes.
Parag Manare, DCP, Thane crime branch, said, "The 100-kg consignment was sent through air cargo and at the meeting, it was decided that 1,000 kg would be sent next via a ship.
Accordingly, 1,300 kg was all set to be sent to Kenya, but the Gujarat police seized the consignment. This batch, too, was to be converted into 1,000 kg of meth and sold at USD 50,000/kg in the international market," added Manare.
Singh said at the first meeting, it was decided that 10 tonnes of ephedrine would be sent out every month. Abdulla is said to be involved in several drug rackets and is on the DEA's radar.
Ten persons have been arrested in the case, including the Thane racket's kingpin, Jay Mukhi. Mukhi was picked up from the Nepal border by Amol Walzade, sub-inspector, anti-Narcotics cell, Thane police. Besides Kulkarni and Goswami, seven others have been booked in the case. The police suspect that four more people from the Bollywood fraternity are involved in the racket.
The Thane police have launched a hunt for Shakeel Patel, an associate of the international drug racket, who had sent cash from Mumbai through hawala routes. "Patel is at present in Africa and he has sent USD 140,000 cash in four parts through hawala routes in the past few months - two each of USD 50,000 and another two each of USD 20,000," said a police officer from the Thane crime branch.