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Expert aid for narcotic cops to score convictions

In a bid to improve the rate of conviction in cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,top officials of the Mumbai Police Anti-narcotic Cell (ANC) are planning to rope in legal experts to counsel ANC officers on legal technicalities.

Written by Jaidev Hemmady | Mumbai |
January 17, 2010 3:29:05 am

In a bid to improve the rate of conviction in cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,top officials of the Mumbai Police Anti-narcotic Cell (ANC) are planning to rope in legal experts to counsel ANC officers on legal technicalities.

In a special seminar later this month,experts and prosecutors would guide them on ways to strengthen their cases in court.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (ANC) Sunil Paraskar said,“Conviction rate in NDPS cases has been low because punishment under the NDPS Act is stringent (minimum 10 years to life imprisonment) and so the courts demand a greater level of accuracy in gathering evidence. A small discrepancy in the way the prosecution presents the case can affect the outcome and result in acquittals.”

Paraskar has called for details of cases of acquittals in order to study them and analyse any discrepancies that may have hurt the prosecution case. “To prepare ourselves,we have asked for five case files per officer of NDPS cases that resulted in acquittals so that we analyse them in detail and use them as case studies at the seminar. This would help officers to identify weak links and be on their guard in future,” said police inspector Mrityunjay Hiremath of the Bandra ANC unit.

Additional Public Prosecutor Vijayalakshmi Nadar,a prosecutor in drug cases,said,“When making raids and arrests,officials often ignore certain procedural requirements. Most often,officials do not submit drugs seized to be tested using a kit but write in their report that the contraband is charas or heroin by just smelling it. The case later falls flat as the drug had not been tested using a kit. In some cases,female accused are frisked by women constables though the NDPS Act requires the task to be performed by a woman officer ranked higher than a constable. These may seem trivial but prove disastrous for the prosecution case.”

Nadar said that unless the police brush up their knowledge on procedures through such seminars,the conviction rate would remain poor.

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