The Thane police's case against Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni in a multi-crore drug racket has taken a twist after one of the witnesses who testified before a magistrate about her involvement has now sought to retract his statement.
The arrested accused, Jay Mukhi, had earlier stated that Kulkarni had attended a meeting in Kenya. But now he denies having ever met the actress.
According to India Today, in his application to the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court, Mukhi has alleged, "Three officers from Thane Crime Branch threatened me that my sister and brother-in-law would be arrested if I didn't do as they say. They forced me to give statement as per their wish in front of the Vashi Magistrate u/s 164 of the Cr.P.C. They used to keep my father Mulji Rajshi Mukhi (aged 80 years) and mother Nirmala Mulji Mukhi (aged 76 years) till 1.30 am to 2 am in their office to put pressure on me and because of this pressure I gave statement u/s 164 of the Cr.P.C in front of the Vashi Magistrate, contents of which were not true."
A report in The Indian Express quotes a police officer denying all charges, “When the statement of a person is recorded by a magistrate, he is no longer in police custody. He is in the custody of the magistrate who gives him enough time to think over his decision to give a statement. How can we torture him to give a statement before the magistrate when he was not in our custody?”
A month ago, another accused, Punit Shringi, a former senior official of Avon Lifesciences Ltd who was till recently lodged in Thane Jail and is presently in custody of Gujarat ATS, informed the police and prosecution about a threat to eliminate him if he records his statement before the magistrate.
The entire drug racket first came to light when Thane police arrested a Nigerian man on 18 April, after seizing around 18.5 tonne of ephedrine after raiding the premises of Avon Lifesciences Ltd in Maharashtra's Solapur district.
Former actress Kulkarni and her druglord husband Vicky Goswami, have been named as accused persons in the ephedrine case.
Kulkarni debuted with Tirangaa in 1992 and had several hits like Krantiveer (1994), Karan Arjun (1995) and Baazi (1996). The actress was considered the pin-up girl of the 90s and acted with several big stars in her time. However, in 2001, after Dev Anand's film Censor, she renounced filmdom and went away with Goswami to Dubai.
After years of being off-the-radar, Kulkarni made news in 2014 when she was detained in Kenya for alleged drug trafficking.