Mamta Kulkarni Image Credit: Supplied

A special Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court has ordered the confiscation of assets belonging to absconding Bollywood star Mamta Kulkarni, in connection with a drugs smuggling case involving the former actress and her husband Vicky Goswami, an official said on Thursday.

Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hirey said that the order was issued last week against the couple and several other accused.

The special court’s order is a fallout of one of the biggest operations in April 2016, when Mumbai’s Thane police busted a gang smuggling narcotic drugs worth around Rs22 billion (Dh1.2 billion).

During the investigations of the case, Kulkarni’s name cropped up and subsequently she was named one of the main accused in the case.

“However, despite repeated summons issued by the police and courts, she has failed to honour them and appear before the law. Thereafter, she and her husband were proclaimed as ‘absconders’ in June 2017. Later, the prosecution moved an application seeking seizure of her properties, which has been accepted by the Special Court,” Hirey said.

Accordingly, on April 17, Special Judge Patwardhan ordered the seizure of three flats in Mumbai’s Andheri suburb owned by her, which are collectively estimated to be valued at around Rs 200 million.

During the raids, the Thane police seized 18.5 tonnes of ephedrine and 2.50 tonnes acetic anhydride, both banned drugs, worth collectively around Rs22 billion, from the warehouse of pharmaceutical group, Avon LifeSciences Ltd., in Solapur.

According to the investigators, ephedrine intended for making medicines was allegedly smuggled to the pharma unit and converted to narcotics, including a popular variety of a party drug.

At least 10 accused have been arrested in the case, but Goswami and Kulkarni are currently believed to be living in Canada.

Then the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined in the probe and its officials met Thane police officers to get details as Goswami is allegedly wanted in the US.

Incidentally, Goswami and Kulkarni were detained by Kenyan authorities in 2014 on the charge of drug trafficking.

In 2013, he married Kulkarni and then they settled in Kenya’s Mombasa.

In late 2016, Kulkarni, in a recorded statement from Kenya, denied all police allegations against her and claimed she was “innocent” and a “yogini” (ascetic).

She also said she had written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, asking them to order an inquiry against the Maharashtra Police for 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.

A leading actress in the 1990s, Kulkarni was paired with some of the top Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar.