Thane (Maharashtra), June 18 (IANS) Former Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni has been named an accused in the Rs 2,000 crore ephedrine drugs haul case by police here, an official said on Saturday.
With this, police will now approach the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to get an Interpol Red Corner notice issued in her name to facilitate quick deportation from Kenya, where she is reported to be living since the past few years with her husband and business partner Vicky Goswami, a co-accused in the case.
"We have included Mamta Kulkarni's name in the first information report (FIR) and are in the process of getting a Red Corner Notice against her. Earlier, we have issued a RCN against her husband Vicky Goswami," Thane Police Commissioner Parambir Singh told media persons on Saturday.
Singh added that Moroccan and Colombian drug dealers are involved in the case and the US Drug Enforcement Administration has provided pictures of Abdulla, an international narcotics dealer from Kenya.
The Kulkarni-Goswami couple had attended meetings in January and April about drug smuggling, police have learnt.
Since April when the rich drugs haul was effected in Mumbai, Thane and Solapur, the Thane police have nabbed a total of 10 accused and filed a chargesheet against them in a local court earlier this week.
Another seven accused are still wanted in the case being probed by the Anti-Narcotics Cell of Thane police.
According to investigators, ephedrine meant for making medicines was allegedly smuggled to a pharma unit, Avon Lifesciences Ltd in Solapur, and converted to narcotics, including a popular variety of party drug.
Kulkarni's role in the narcotics racket was confirmed on the basis of statements of some of the accused in the case that she and Goswami held meetings and discussed business with some clients.
In mid-April, the Thane police seized 18.50 tonnes of ephedrine and 2.50 tonnes of acetic anhydride, both banned party drugs valued at more than Rs 2,000 crore in the international market, from a pharmaceutical factory in Solapur and other locations in Thane and Mumbai, blowing the lid off an international drug smuggling racket.
Eight persons, including Nigerian Sipren Chinassa, were arrested in what is billed as India's biggest drugs haul. The Maharashtra and Gujarat police are on the lookout for at least four other people who are missing and reportedly on the run.
Chinassa led the police to other accused who include Manoj Jain, director of BSE-listed Avon Lifesciences Ltd., Punit Shringi, Pradeep Gill, Sagar Powale, Mayur Sukdhare, Dhaneshwar Swamy and Dnyaneshwar Dhimri.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration too has joined in the probe. The US agency officials met Thane police officers to get details as Goswami is allegedly wanted in the United States.
Incidentally, Goswami and Mamta were detained by Kenyan authorities in 2014 on the charge of drug trafficking.
Goswami, 52, was earlier imprisoned for 25 years in the United Arab Emirates in 1997 for trafficking around 11.50 tonnes of Mandrax but was released in November 2012 on grounds of good conduct.
In 2013, he married Mamta Kulkarni, now 44. The couple is reportedly based in Mombasa in Kenya.
"During questioning, the arrested accused revealed they had travelled to Kenya and met Goswami with plans to set up a drug factory in Mombasa," Singh said.
During the 1990s, Mamta Kulkarni was paired with some of the top Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Kapoor, Atul Agnihotri and many more. She had participated in a TV show and bagged a Femina award too.