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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Panchkula: NDPS accused in three cases walk free after court observes loopholes in filing of FIRs

In the judgement delivered Monday last week, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sandhir acquitted two accused as the case of the prosecution had become “doubtful”.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula | Published: February 27, 2020 10:39:31 am
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, NDPS act, NDPS act Panchkula, Panchkula drugs case, Chandigarh news, city news, Indian Express The court order highlighted the fact that although the accused were arrested on suspicion after he was seen carrying a purple coloured jute bag, which was taken into possession, the same bag was never produced in the court.

IN THREE CONSECUTIVE judgements delivered by the trial courts of Panchkula, NDPS Act accused walked free as the court observed glaring loopholes in the filing of cases and handling of confiscated materials by the Panchkula police.

In the judgement delivered Monday last week, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sandhir acquitted two accused as the case of the prosecution had become “doubtful”. The court, in its order, gave benefit of doubt to the accused. The order read, “The presence of the FIR number before hand, at the time of preparation of parcels, before registration of the FIR also raises doubt about the prosecution case.”

The court order highlighted the fact that although the accused were arrested on suspicion after he was seen carrying a purple coloured jute bag, which was taken into possession, the same bag was never produced in the court. Furthermore, the court expressed its suspicion that while the investigating officer claimed that he took the bag to the Drug Inspector’s office, he did not prepare the inventory and seal the case property there, and the same was sealed by the IO outside the Drug Inspector’s office. However, the recovery witness said that the IO had sealed the case property in the office of the Drug Inspector and the places of recovery mentioned in court and in tehrir also differed.

According to the prosecution, the accused was caught with 45 pouches containing 100 tablets of microlit diphenoxylate hydrochloride and atropine sulphate tablets each, totalling to 4,500 tablets. The case was registered in November 2016.

In the second case, two persons, accused of possessing 9 grams heroin on June 11, 2016, were acquitted. In the judgement delivered by the court of Additional Sessions Judge cum Special Judge Narendra Sura, Tuesday last week, the two accused were acquitted.

The court said, “The entire case of the prosecution is doubtful. The prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that alleged heroin was recovered from accused.” The judgement further read that “by no stretch of imagination, it can be held that prosecution has proved its case against the accused.”

The IO of the case, had claimed in court that the case was registered late night on June 11, but the date on the FIR was June 12, said the order, observing that “prosecution had failed to show the reason of such a vital contradiction.”

The court observed that the police officers involved in the recovery of the drugs had given conflicting statements. While a constable Sunil Kumar had specifically deposed in his cross-examination that no recovery was effected from the accused in his presence, another official had said that the said constable was present when the recovery was made. The court’s order read, “This creates doubt on the recovery effected from the accused.”

The bench also highlighted the glaring differences of time recorded in statements of different police officials as well as the time taken in filing the FIR. “Taking of more than one and half hours in conducting proceedings on the spot also creates doubt on the recovery.” the order said.

In a similar case of NDPS Act, in which judgement was passed on Wednesday last week, the court of Sanjay Sandhir had acquitting the accused and had observed that, “There is nothing on record to show or establish that the Investigating Officer was having suspicion that the accused was carrying any contraband.”

Highlighting the contradiction in statements made by the two IOs about the number of sealed samples, the court observed, “This contradiction in the evidence… regarding sealed parcels raises doubt about the manner in which the alleged seized contraband was handled.”

In the said case as well, the evidence revealed that the documents regarding the search of the accused and the contraband recovery was prepared even before sending the tehri (compliant) to the police station and despite that, the FIR number was already mentioned on the documents which were prepared on the spot.

The case was registered in September 2017, when the accused was allegedly caught with a plastic box containing 44 grams of opium milk.

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