Calvin Mascarenhas, the alleged kingpin of a drug racket that was busted in July last year, was granted bail this week.

Hyd drug bust case weakens 5 months on two alleged kingpins get bail
news Crime Tuesday, January 02, 2018 - 16:23

After spending close to five months at the Cherlapally Central Prison in Hyderabad, Calvin Mascarenhas, the alleged kingpin of a drug racket that was busted in July last year, walked out after getting bail this week.

The drug racket uncovered by Telangana’s Prohibition and Excise Department said that Calvin was one of the main accused in the case.

A Nampally court granted Calvin bail after the prosecution failed to file a chargesheet in the case.

Calvin walked out of the prison with a cloth partly covering his face and was escorted out of the premises by his lawyer.

“Whatever has been reported in the papers and TV is false. Things have been fabricated and I’ve been bothered enough. I’ve been put inside and been there for so long that I missed my freedom. They treated me well in jail, but you lose your freedom. That is the important thing. I don’t have anything more to say. I am going to get back to my regular life,” Calvin told reporters, before driving away.

The findings by the excise department rattled the entire city of Hyderabad, as around 200 students of leading private schools and colleges in the city were found to be using high-end drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine).

Some of these school students were studying in Class 8 and were as young as 13.

The racket also exposed the dark side of the Telugu film industry, as 12 personalities from Tollywood were grilled by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for their alleged involvement in the racket.

‘Innocent and implicated’

Speaking to TNM, Calvin’s lawyer, Revanth Rao, reiterated his stance that his client was innocent and implicated.

Calvin was arrested along with Mohammed Abdul Wahed and Mohammed Abdul Quddus in the first week of July by Excise officials, who claimed to have recovered 700 blots of LSD and 35 g of MDMA from the trio.

However, Revanth says that no papers were served to Calvin when he was picked up and that he was not even informed about the reason for his arrest.

“The case still remains strong. Nothing will change. When the contraband itself was not seized from him, how can they say that he is the main accused,” Revanth asks.

(Calvin)

According to officials, Calvin was an event manager-cum-musician and met many high-profile personalities as part of his job.

Director of Enforcement Akun Sabharwal had earlier said that the accused had confessed to having been a part of the drug racket since 2014 and bought the drugs via the Dark Web.

The Dark Web is a part of the internet that’s harder to access, where users are practically anonymous, and can buy and sell a wide variety of illegal substances.

After placing an ‘order’, the drugs were suspected to be delivered to the homes of the accused via courier services and the postal department.

Investigating officials earlier said that Calvin and the others even delivered the LSD and cocaine directly to Tollywood personalities sometimes, while at other times their drivers, PAs and close associates would collect it.

Calvin’s lawyer has maintained that their ‘musician’ claim is an exaggeration, as he only played occasionally at church.

“As per the record, and the instructions I have received, he is still a student, pursuing a course in Mangalore. He was living in Hyderabad but had some papers to clear back there,” Revanth had told TNM earlier.

The court granted Calvin bail after the Excise department claimed that it is yet to obtain a forensic report from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).

Read: Tracking Calvin Mascarenhas: Middle class boy-next-door who turned into Hyderabad’s ‘drug kingpin’

Others also get bail

Another important arrest according to investigators was that of 33-year-old Dutch national Mike Kamminga, who was picked up on July 26 from his house in Hyderabad.

Officials stated that he was found in possession of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine). However, he also was granted bail in December.

Based on a statement by the state’s additional public prosecutor that they could not obtain a report on the substance seized from Kamminga, the judge granted him bail.

(Mike Kamminga)

Speaking to TNM, Sivaraj Srinivas, Kamminga’s lawyer had said at the time, “We raised two specific points when the matter came up for hearing. One was that the search party was present in the residence even before Mike Kamminga was there, and the other was that the witnesses in the panchanama report were constables from the Excise Department.”

A panchanama report is usually drafted by an investigating officer at the crime scene, which can be submitted in court, and also involves witnesses at the scene of the crime.

“The second point we raised was that they claimed to have found 2.6 g of DMT, but did not provide any evidence for the claim besides a ‘confession’ by Mike Kamminga, which does not hold valid in court if the quality and quantity of the seized substance can’t be established,” Srinivas added.

Srinivas also points out that, according to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, anything above 2 g of DMT is dubbed a ‘commercial quantity’, which is why the exact weight of the substance seized must also be established.

“That’s why we demanded that the quantity and quality of the substance be validated. Following this, the court had directed the prosecution to file a report on the current status of the forensic report,” Srinivas said.

“The prosecution said that the material had been sent to the FSL on July 25, but they were unable to establish if it was DMT, as they do not have certain equipment and chemicals required to do so,” he added.

As there was no definite timeline within which the state could establish this, the court granted bail to Mike Kamminga.

He has been asked to provide two sureties for a sum of Rs 25,000 each and must present himself in front of the court every second Saturday. He also cannot leave the country unless the court gives prior permission.

“Unless they establish that the substance is DMT and the quantity is as much as they claim, there is no case,” Srinivas remarked.

Investigators had earlier said that Mike Kamminga’s arrest was being considered a major breakthrough as they claimed that he may have been supplying the drugs to peddlers from Europe.

However, his friends and family claimed that he had been framed, and an online campaign was started to set him free.

Read: Hyd drug bust: Mike Kamminga’s wife claims he’s innocent, asks social media to ‘Save Mikey’

Officials determined

Speaking to TNM, Akun Sabharwal, who has been leading the entire investigation, said, “There are 11 cases in total, out of which we have received the forensic reports for five cases. While we are in possession of three reports, two of them are still with the court.”

“As far as the three reports that we have with us are concerned, the chargesheet is expected to be filed on January 8. The other two will be filed within 10 days of receiving the report from the court,” he added.

When asked about the delay in the investigation, Akun says, “There is no point filing the chargesheet without the complete evidence, so we have to wait for the reports from the FSL. As far as I know, the preliminary testing is done and the final reports are expected soon.”

 

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