The recreational drug, Mephedrone - popularly called 'meow meow'- was allegedly brought to Mumbai by a woman who was a milk vendor in the city in the 1980s.
Drug mafia Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, 54, who was arrested by Mumbai police last Wednesday, had achieved a spectacular growth in the narcotics trade over the last 30 years.
Patankar was arrested after the seizure of 12 kg of Mephedrone (MD) worth around Rs 2.5 crore from the locker of her boyfriend, police constable Dharmraj Kalokhe. Kalokhe was arrested on March 9 and later dismissed from service. Kalokhe and Patankar’s son, Satish, has also been arrested in the case.
Baby’s empire and the finances
Patankar had started off by trading in marijuana and brown sugar in Mumbai before taking to MD.
Mephedrone’s (MD) biggest dealer in Maharashtra currently, Patankar, amassed huge property and valuables through drug peddling and invested in real estate in upscale Worli in central Mumbai, Lonavala and Pune.
In order to build a watertight case against Patankar, police have dug deep into her finances . The investigators say they have found transactions worth around Rs 5 crore made from her 22 bank accounts in the past few years, many of which have been frozen.
The police have found several properties owned by Patankar, including a bungalow in Malavli near Pune, a room in a Borivli chawl, a slum in Ghorpade in Pune and 10 slums in Worli’s Siddharth Nagar.
Police sources said Patankar and her relatives have a total of 22 bank accounts.
“Patankar has 22 bank accounts. She has deposited Rs 1.45crore for a fix deposit (FD) in an account. She took a loan of Rs 1.25 crore (of which Rs 13 lakh has been repaid) on this FD. It has yet to be established exactly where she diverted this money,” said a police officer.
Patankar has a current account in the name of Saurav Tours and Travels as its proprietor. Around Rs 37 lakh from this account was seized by the Worli police in December 30, 2014, after her daughter-in-law, Sarika, and her nephew were arrested with 24 gm of MD. Patankar was wanted in that case.
A crime branch officer said, “It is clear that the money found in her accounts was earned from drugs as making such profits from a business of renting out four-wheelers is not possible.”
“Patankar will not be in the position to explain the transactions worth crores and the detailed financial investigation will make it difficult for her to secure bail,” the officer said. He added that it is likely Patankar has more bank accounts.
Patankar used to live in a four-room house, at Worli’s Siddharth Nagar slums, with sons Satish and Girish, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. She has five brothers - Arjun, Kisan, Bharat, Vasant and Shatrughan alias Badsha Peer Khan. While Bharat and Vasant are no more, Kisan is lodged in Kalyan jail in a murder case for which Arjun and Shatrughan have served jail sentences.
Baby’s personal life
Patankar was in a relationship with Kalokhe, but their ties had soured since the last few months, said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police (detection-crime branch).
"Kalokhe suspected Shashikala's character and at a few occasions, he had also assaulted her. They also developed severe disagreements over money matters," said Kulkarni.
Asked if Patankar had links with other policemen, Kulkarni said, "Our investigation covers this angle also. Truthfulness of this charge would be ascertained during our investigation."
(With PTI inputs)