The NIA’s failure to take Ajay Gupta — key accused in the 532 kg heroin haul case — in custody to question him over a period of three months became a solid ground for the accused to get bail in the high-profile case. Ajay Gupta was arrested in July by the Customs Department, and the case was taken over by the NIA is September.
In its order, the court of Special NIA judge N S Gill said that NIA did not take Ajay Gupta on police remand and also no recovery was done from the accused in this case or even in the cases in which he was involved after the registration of the drugs haul case.
The court observed that the NIA took on record the Call Detail Records (CDRs) of the accused with persons in Pakistan but merely because the petitioner, who has an import-export licence, was in touch with them cannot lead to the inference that he was smuggling narcotics.
The NIA raised questions over the payments made by Ajay Gupta’s company to Lahore-based two companies, but the court stated in its orders that in the statement of account, the beneficiary customer name is mentioned along with complete details. “Even, the name of ordering customer (Ajay Gupta) was already mentioned and the amount has been sent from the account of petitioner’s firm. The transaction is through bank and the certificate issued by the bank cannot be doubted at this stage,” the court said in its order.
The order further stated that even if there is some discrepancy or violation of any law regarding importing of rock salt, then also the petitioner cannot be kept behind bars in the case of smuggling of narcotics as there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the petitioner are prima facie true.
About the amount received by Gupta, the court said that the amounts received by the petitioner as referred to by the
NIA in the written submission are not exorbitant to lead to the conclusion that the same are related to some illegal activity.
The court observed, “The petitioner is not even related with any of the co-accused and neither it is shown that any of the relative of the petitioner is involved in any case under the NDPS Act and thus, this court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that petitioner Ajay Gupta is not guilty under the NDPS Act at this stage, and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.”
The court concluded that there was no evidence at all against the present petitioner (Ajay Gupta) that earlier when he had ordered consignment of rock salt from Pakistan, any intoxicant material was also brought from Pakistan. Even, there is no statement of any co-accused that the petitioner had been indulging in transportation of contraband along with rock salt, the court added.