Ephedrine haul case: Court rejects bail pleas of 4 accused

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A district court rejected the bail applications moved by four of the ten persons arrested in connection with the multi-crore Ephedrine drug bust case.

Ephedrine haul-AV
After hearing the applications, district court judge H M Patwardhan observed that the four accused cannot be released on bail at this juncture.

Opposing the bail, special public prosecutor Shishir Hiray argued the probe into the case was still on and that the links with drug barons from Pakistan and Sri Lanka have come to the fore during the investigation of the accused.

He said further custodial interrogation of the accused is needed in view of the involvement of suspected international drug smuggler Vicky Goswami, believed to be in Kenya, in hatching the conspiracy to move ephedrine out of country for manufacturing the party drug ‘Meth’.

Police had seized around 18.5 tonne of ephedrine, worth approximately Rs 2,000 crore, after raiding the premises of a chemical firm Avon Lifesciences Ltd in Solapur in April.

In his argument for bail, Ayaz Khan, the counsel for the accused Manoj Jain, former director of Avon Life Sciences, Punit Shringi, local head of company, Rajendra Dimri, production manager, and Babasaheb Dhotre, a transporter whose trucks were allegedly used to transport ephedrine, said nothing incriminating has been found against them so far.

The prosecution had last week told the court that Shringi had allegedly been threatened by the drug mafia in Thane jail not to turn approver in the case.

Recently, former actress Mamta Kulkarni was named as a prime accused in the drug racket, with Mumbai Police claiming that she was actively involved in the illicit activities.

In all, there were 17 accused in the case, of whom seven are still at large. The remaining 10 were arrested and are now in judicial custody.