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Confession To NDPS Officer Inadmissible : Allahabad HC Grants Bail In Case Of 628 Kg Ganja

Sparsh Upadhyay
27 Oct 2021 1:27 PM GMT
Confession To NDPS Officer Inadmissible : Allahabad HC Grants Bail In Case Of 628 Kg Ganja
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The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to a man booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) in a case involving the alleged recovery of 628 Kilograms of Ganja.The Court noted that the case against the accused was based only upon the statement given by the co-accused implicating him and also upon a statement given by the accused under Section 67...

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The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to a man booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) in a case involving the alleged recovery of 628 Kilograms of Ganja.

The Court noted that the case against the accused was based only upon the statement given by the co-accused implicating him and also upon a statement given by the accused under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, the Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh granted bail to the accused.

Since the NCB relied upon his statement given under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, the Court referred to the ruling of Tofan Singh Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, which had held that officers of the Central & State agencies appointed under NDPS Act are police officers, and therefore the 'confessional' statements recorded by them under Section 67 are not admissible.

As per the ruling in the case of Tofan Singh v State of Tamil Nadu (2020), the statements made by the accused under S.67 of the NDPS Act is not admissible as evidence during the trial, as it is hit by the bar under S. 25 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Read this explainer to know more about the admissibility of the confessional statement recorded under the NDPS Act's Section 67: NDPS Act : Are 'Confessional' Statements Given Under Section 67 Admissible In Evidence?

"As far as the self inculpatory statement relied upon, this Court is prima facie of the opinion that the ratio as laid down in Tofan Singh's case would come to the aid of the applicant to allow him the benefit of regular bail," the Court observed while allowing the bail application.

The facts in brief  

A team of the officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was constituted based on secret information about a truck carrying Ganja. The team intercepted the truck and it found two persons sitting in the truck, who initially feigned ignorance regarding the contents of contraband in the truck but thereafter, upon being questioned, they were informed that they were carrying Ganja in the truck.

Upon searching the Truck, a special cavity was found in the Truck from where about 146 packets were recovered which were weighed and a total of 628.280 Kgs. of Ganja was recovered from the 146 packets.

The complicity of the present bail applicant/accused came into light in the confessional statements of the persons found sitting in the truck (Rakesh Kumar and Veerpal), who said that they were transporting the seized ganja to Aligarh on the instructions of the accused applicant.

Thereafter, the bail applicant also confessed in his statement given under Sec - 67 of NDPS Act that he purchased the seized contraband from his own money, and based on his Statement, he was arrested under Section 43 of NDPS Act.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court observed that the alleged recovery and seizure of a total of 628.28 Kgs. of Ganja in the case is much more than the commercial quantity, therefore, provisions of section 37 of the Act are attracted in this case, which is in addition to section 439 of Cr.P.C. and mandatory in nature.

Further, the Court noted that the bail applicant was not named in the FIR nor was he present on spot and that no recovery was made from the possession of the accused applicant and that his name came into light on the confessional statements of co-accused recorded under section 67 of the NDPS Act.

In this regard, the Court said that the complicity of the applicant will have to be determined by the quality of evidence led during the trial.

Importantly, regarding the self-inculpatory statement of the bail applicant, the Court, relying upon Tofan Singh's ruling, opined that the apex court's ruling would allow him the benefit of regular bail.

Further, the Court noted that the co-accused had, in their statement, stated that the bail applicant was the owner of the truck, however, the Court observed that the prosecution failed to put on record any documentary evidence or RC Transfer certificate establishing the ownership of the applicant - accused in respect of seized vehicle.

The Court also noted that there was no material on record to prove the ownership of the accused applicant in respect of the vehicle from which the contraband was recovered.

Against this backdrop, the Court found reasonable grounds in terms of section - 37 of The N.D.P.S. Act to believe that the applicant accused was not guilty of an offence and he was not likely to commit any offence while on bail and thus, the court observed that it was a fit case for grant of bail to the applicant.

Case title - Rajveer Singh v. Union of India

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