Not enough material to prove guests conspired with co-accused: Court

0 0

A special court under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act has said in its detailed order while granting bail to two guests on the cruise ship Cordelia, that merely because they were present on the cruise or if some contraband was allegedly recovered from one of them, it cannot be said that they acted in conspiracy with co-accused.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had charged them for conspiracy under the NDPS Act. The agency had alleged that Avin Sahu had consumed ganja twice during his stay on the cruise after it left the Mumbai coast after the raid on October 2 and returned two days later. He had admitted to the same in his statement under Sec 67 of the NDPS Act, it said. Regarding Manish Rajgarhia, who also got bail on Tuesday, the NCB had claimed to have recovered 2.4 g ganja from him.

In a common observation made for both Sahu and Rajgarhia in separate orders, special Judge VV Patil said it is pertinent to note that they were not arrested on the day of the raid. On the charge of conspiracy against them both, the court said the prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of conspiracy by showing any circumstances to show their nexus with co-accused.

Regarding Sahu it said that merely because he was present in the cruise, he cannot be said to have acted in conspiracy with co-accused.

The NCB had argued that the court had rejected the bail pleas of Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha holding that there is an element of conspiracy and that such observations apply to Sahu too. The court said there is no evidence against Sahu regarding conspiracy. Therefore, merely because bail applications of co-accused are rejected, his bail plea cannot be rejected by applying the same analogy.

On consumption charges on Sahu in which NCB relied on his statement to it, the court said there must be some prima facie evidence supporting the case apart from his statement. As per an SC ruling last year, statements made to NCB officers under Sec 67 of the NDPS Act are not admissible as evidence.

On Rajgarhia, the court said, “Merely because some contraband was allegedly recovered from the applicant, he cannot be said to have acted in conspiracy with co-accused.” Rajgarhia’s advocate had questioned the alleged recovery from him and said that the panchnama shows the recovery was handed over by a security officer of the ship to the NCB officer, thus that it is not clear from where it was recovered. The court noted this and said that “there is prima facie no cogent evidence on record regarding recovery of contraband” from Rajgarhia. It also considered that both had no criminal antecedents, while granting them bail.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper’s PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Thursday, October 28, 2021, 12:36 AM IST

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.