Top executive of Yash Birla Group held for possessing cocaine

Corporate Affairs Prez Anant Pathak, aides held for purchasing, possessing cocaine.

Mumbai: A top executive of a business conglomerate, his bodyguard and peon have been arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for allegedly purchasing and possessing cocaine, and remanded in their custody till January 16 by a local court.

Anant Pathak (31), president of corporate affairs of the group, his bodyguard Dilip Palekar (31) and peon Dharmu Rathod (29), were arrested Saturday night after 4.5 grams contraband was recovered from his room in a five-star hotel in south Mumbai, said Rohit Kathiyar, zonal director at NCB.

According to police, the trio confessed to purchasing and possessing the drug. The trio were today produced before a holiday court, presided over by magistrate D D Khoche, who remanded them in NCB custody till January 16.

The NCB would now unravel the details like from whom and when the drug was purchased, whether they had plans to hand it over to someone or Pathak procured it for the purpose of consumption, etc.

The accused, however, retracted their statement in the court saying they had nothing to do with the offence. According to police, the Income Tax department had been conducting raids at various offices of the group since January 7 in connection with taxation purposes.

They had also searched a room of Pathak at a five-star hotel on January 10, when they stumbled upon a drug-like substance.

The IT department then immediately alerted the NCB office, whose sleuths reached the spot and detained Pathak. According to public prosecutor in the court today, Pathak admitted before police that he had purchased cocaine for Rs 40,000, handed it over to Palekar, who in turn kept it with Rathod as directed.

Palekar also admitted that he took it from Pathak while Rathod confessed he got it from the bodyguard. Their statements were recorded under section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, the prosecutor informed the court.

Defence lawyer Parvez Memon, who represented Pathak, informed the court that the cocaine was not recovered from his client and he had nothing to with the crime.

"Pathak was arrested just because the drug was found with two others, who were said to be with him. My client says he did not possess or hand over the drug to anybody. We moved an application in this regard," Memon said.

Memon did not object to the prosecutor's plea seeking NCB custody of the accused, but he tried to draw the attention of the court that the cocaine allegedly recovered in the case was a 'very small quantity'.

Two others accused also pleaded before the court that they were innocent and had just followed the instructions of their boss. After hearing the arguments of both the sides, the court remanded the three accused in NCB custody till January 16, police said. However, attempts to contact the Group proved futile.

( Source : PTI )
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