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I am an innocent yogini, says drugs accused ex-star Mamta Kulkarni

Mumbai, Sep 9 (IANS) Former Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni, an accused in a Rs 2,000 crore narcotics drugs case, on Friday denied all allegations against her, saying she was a “yogini” and “innocent”.

“I am a yogini (ascetic). I am engaged in spirituality and it effects by activities since the past 20 years. I am innocent of the accusations against me,” Kulkarni, 44, said in a videotaped statement from Kenya’s Mombasa, where she is currently based.

Now, she has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju demanding a probe against the Maharashtra Police to unearth the reasons behind dragging her name into the drugs case.

“I have never engaged in any act contrary to the principles of Indian statutes and am a victim of high-handedness, crude, unprofessional and unethical conspiracy by the officers of the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Thane police,” she said in her plea to the two Union ministers.

On Kulkarni’s behalf, her battery of legal advisors including Parzez Memon of MZM Legal, Daniel Arshack from New York, Cliff Ombeta from Kenya, Sudeep Pasbola and Majeed Memon, who is also a NCP Rajya Sabha member, were present at the media briefing.

The lawyers contended that it was under the direct pressure, guidance and abetment of the DE, that the Thane police is hounding Kulkarni to implicate her without an iota of evidence against her in the case.

Besides, they said one of the accused in the case, Jai Mukhi has already retracted his confession, while Memon said the evidence is so flimsy that the case would not even reach the trial stage as it fails to meet or concur with Indian standards of evidence.

The case first came into the limelight when Kulkarni’s name cropped up on June 18 in the Rs 2,000 crore ephedrine drugs haul case cracked by Thane police in which her husband and business partner Vicky Goswami is a co-accused.

The Thane police have also approached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to get an InterPol Red Corner Notice issued against Kulkarni on the lines of a RCN against Goswami, to facilitate her deportation from Kenya.

Police had said that Moroccan and Colombian drug dealers are also involved in the case and the DEA had provided pictures of Abdulla, an international narcotics dealer from Kenya.

The case started in April with a series of drugs haul in Mumbai, Thane and Solapur and police also learnt that the Kulkarni-Goswami couple had attended meetings in January and April this year for drug smuggling and setting up a drugs factory in Mombasa.

So far around eight persons have been arrested in the case and police are on the lookout for another four absconders in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The lawyers’ team accused police of resorting to all foul means in the investigations with a view to sensationalise the highly exaggerated figure (Rs 2,000 crore), and are using her celebrity status to her disadvantage.

They claimed that the alleged contraband ephedrine is a controlled substance and the recovered substance is D-ephedrine which is a waste product with zero market value, proving that the entire probe is a sham and played out to please the US agencies.

In her letter to the two central ministers, Kulkarni claimed that the investigators want her and Goswami to be extradited to the US from Kenya by all means fair and foul and were using her as a “pawn” in the case.

Her lawyers demanded that the Indian government must evaluate the case properly before launching extradition proceedings against her.

Seen onscreen in the 1990s, Kulkarni paired with some of the top Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and others and participated in a TV show besides bagging a Femina Award.

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