Mumbai: Former Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni, named as an accused in the Rs 2,000 crore ephedrine drug haul case being probed by the neighbouring Thane police, today claimed that she was innocent.
“Don’t look at me as an accused but as a victim of a conspiracy,” said Kulkarni, based in Kenya, in a recorded speech played by her lawyers at a press conference here.
“My passport copies are there with all the entries, my bank statements are there….I have nothing to hide, the cops have seen my statements, they have not found anything against me, there is no single evidence,” she said.
The actress, who starred in the 1990s blockbuster Karan Arjun among other films, also said that she was now heavily influenced by spirituality and was a “yogini”.
Noting that she only had fixed deposits of over Rs 25 lakh, she said, “but that is my money. I have worked for ten years in Bollywood and did more than 30 to 40 concerts.”
Mamta alleged that her image was being tarnished unnecessarily because of “my proximity to a certain individual”, she said.
Her Mumbai-based lawyer, Majeed Memon, said at the press conference that Kulkarni had written a letter to the Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju about her case.
Another lawyer, US-based Daniel Arshack, who was also present, said when the Indian government asked the Interpol to issue a red corner notice against her, the international agency refused, citing lack of evidence.
“US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has long time interest in bringing her long-time friend – Vikey Goswami – either to extradite him or bring him through India (to the US),” Arshack said, asking why the DEA officials visited Thane and why were they interfering in the probe.
Kulkarni’s Kenyan lawyer Cliff Ombetta said she was a
“wonderful person and a friend”, and had committed no offence.
Memon said he had no confidence that she would not be arrested if she came to India.
The drug racket came to light this April when Thane police arrested a Nigerian national with drugs and later seized 18.5 tonnes of ephedrine, worth Rs 2,000 crore, from the premises of Avon Lifesciences Ltd in Maharashtra’s Solapur district.
Ephedrine, a controlled substance, can be used for making medicines as well as narcotics like the popular party drug methamphetamine.
Ephedrine was allegedly being diverted abroad, and police suspected the involvement of alleged drug mafia and Kulkarni’s partner, Vickey Goswami. Along with him, she too was named as a prime accused.
Thane police attached at least eight bank accounts of Kulkarni, holding over Rs 90 lakh, including one in a private bank in suburban Malad which alone had Rs 67 lakh in foreign currency.
In all, there are 17 accused in the case, of whom 10 have been arrested and the rest are at large.
Thane police have said that Kulkarni attended some crucial meetings in Kenya and Dubai where drug deals were struck and the modalities of logistics were finalised.
In her video statement, Mamta claims that in the last 20 years she has “only focused on spirituality”.
She said even when she was growing up “there were many spiritual experiences.”
“Its like my life is now a clean slate. I have nothing to hide from,” she said.