In the Bowenpally suburb, his neighbours are shocked that the unassuming young man was a 'drug kingpin'.

Image: Facebook
news Crime Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 16:34

The tension in the air is palpable at Hyderabad's Old Bowenpally area.

"The house is two lanes away. Who are you and why are you asking?" a shopkeeper asks warily when asked if he knew about Calvin Mascarenhas.

Santosh then introduces himself and goes on to say, "Lots of rumours are doing the rounds, but even going by what the officials have confirmed, we are shocked. We never thought that something like this would happen, so nearby."

"It's hard to believe that he ran such a large drug racket right under our noses, for so long, and we didn't even know about it," Santhosh adds.

Who is Calvin?

Calvin Mascarenhas, is the alleged kingpin of a drug racket that was busted by Telangana's Prohibition and Excise Department.

The findings of the excise department, rattled the entire city of Hyderabad, as it was revealed that around 200 students of leading private schools and colleges in the city were 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 continue being grilled by a Special Investigation Team (SIT), for their alleged links with the racket.

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 35g of MDMA from the trio.

Until his arrest, Calvin lived with his parents and a younger brother in Hyderabad.

At their independent residence, all doors and windows are shut, barring one window near the door, where one can see a curtain fluttering in the wind.

Two bikes and a car with an 'Army' sticker are parked inside the compound, which includes a Royal Enfield, that Calvin was seen resting on, in one of his pictures being circulated on the internet.

"I have been seeing the family for over a year now. They never caused any trouble. They would mostly keep to themselves, and we never suspected anything," a watchman from a nearby apartment complex says.

According to locals, Calvin's father had retired years ago, while his mother is a bank employee. The couple has been staying in the same house for as long as they remember.

"We have been living here only for 8 years, and they have been here much longer. It would not be right for us to comment on them," a neighbour says.

(The street where Calvin lived with his parents)

Another local shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified, said, "They are a normal middle class family. We have been seeing them for almost 15 years. I can vouch for the parents, they are decent people. They never defaulted on any payments, and were always courteous."

He also remembered seeing Calvin several times.

"While his parents would come during the day, he used to come at night with a group of friends. I never saw him with boys from this neighbourhood. He had his own friend circle, either from school or college. They would come for a cigarette, but they never caused trouble. This too was a long time ago," he says.

'Innocent and implicated'

While authorities seem confident about their claims, Calvin's lawyer argues that he is innocent and is being framed.

Speaking to TNM, Calvin's lawyer, Revanth Rao said, "No procedure has been followed. He was arrested at RP road, while officials claimed that he was arrested at home. When he was picked up, no papers were served to him, and he did not even know the reasons for his arrest."

When asked about Calvin's background, Revanth says, "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. I have no other family details."

However, Calvin's Facebook profile states that he went to St Andrews school and Auxilium Convent High School, following which he studied at Loyola Academy Junior College.

While his page does mention that he had studied BBM at St Aloysius' College (Mangalore), it also states that he pursued an MBA from ICFAI University.

Revanth accuses the police of neither filing the remand report nor the custody petition until he moved court.  

"He is an innocent man. I don't know why they are behind him. He was implicated. Even their 'musician' claim is an exaggeration, as he only played occasionally at church," Revanth says.

"The family is traumatised and being harassed by the media. Their son is being shown like a criminal," he adds.

Earlier this week, with local media channels gathering outside their residence, Bernard Mascarenhas, Calvin's father, stepped out and said a few words.

"Actually I should not talk, but it's not true. He is not involved in that. All that is not true, that's all I can say. He is an easygoing boy, who kept to himself. He is still completing his course, and is a victim (of drug abuse) himself," he told media persons. 

Meanwhile, Revanth said that officials violated rules and did not let him meet Calvin in private. 

Citing Section 40 of The Prisons Act and rule number 506 under Telangana Prisons Rules, he says, "It clearly states that nobody else should be present when an advocate come for the interview of the accused. Prison officials can be at a viewable distance, but should not hear us."

"However, they asked me to meet him in the common area where prisoners meet with the family. It's noisy, open, and anyone can hear you. I have reported it to the court," he added.

Past cases

Following Calvin's interrogation, officials claimed that he confessed to being booked once before, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 2013 in Bowenpally.

However, officials at the Bowenpally police station say that they have no idea about the case, and add that he may have been arrested by the Task Force police.

His lawyer, meanwhile says, "There was no case in 2013. It's a false claim by the investigators. There was one case in 2016, which itself was planted. However, the e-courts website shows that it was 'uncontested and closed'." 

When asked about the confusion, Akun Sabharwal told media persons, “Calvin himself confessed that there was an NDPS Act case against him in 2013 in Bowenpally. We are not aware of the 2016 case. We will be opening a history sheet against Calvin and we will keep him on the radar. We were told that he was under the watch of the Narcotics Control Bureau too.”

Meanwhile, Revanth claims that SIT and media were sensationalising the issue.

"Calvin has been victimised and criminalised, and the case has been sensationalised. This is nothing but character assassination. SIT is operating through 'leaks' and 'sources'. Why isn't that information in the court? We just want a fair trial, to ensure that no one's rights are infringed upon," he said.

Modus operandi

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 has confessed to having been part of the drug racket since 2014 and were buying 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.

While the 'transaction' for larger 'orders' of drugs happened via the Dark Web, the accused would then contact smaller dealers or customers via Whatsapp and Telegram.

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

In fact, the present notices to Tollywood personalities are also based on the call records and conversations from Calvin's phone, investigators said.

Quoting sources, many media houses have also tried to put more pieces of the puzzle together.

While some outlets reported that the SIT had photos of Calvin and personalities like filmmaker Puri Jagannadh together at events, others mention that he even supplied drugs abroad, when the personalities were on location or on a holiday.