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[NDPS Act] Call Conversations B/W Co-Accused Sans Transcript Not Corroborative Material In Absence Of Substantive Evidence: PH High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
10 April 2022 10:24 AM GMT
[NDPS Act] Call Conversations B/W Co-Accused Sans Transcript Not Corroborative Material In Absence Of Substantive Evidence: PH High Court
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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that without the transcript of the conversations exchanged between the co-accused, mere call details would not be considered to be corroborative material in absence of substantive material found against the accused in a case under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.The Bench of Justice Vikas Bahl observed thus while relying...

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that without the transcript of the conversations exchanged between the co-accused, mere call details would not be considered to be corroborative material in absence of substantive material found against the accused in a case under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

The Bench of Justice Vikas Bahl observed thus while relying upon Gujarat High Court's recent order in the case of Yash Jayeshbhai Champaklal Shah v. State of Gujarat 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 66, wherein it was held that mere contacts with the co-accused who were found in possession cannot be treated to be a corroborative material in absence of substantive material found against the accused in NDPS Cases.

The case in brief

Essentially, the court was dealing with the bail pleas filed by 3 NDPS Act accused [Vikrant Singh, Subash Chander @ Bittu, and Davinder Singh] who argued before the Court that no recovery had been made from them and the alleged recovery had been made from two other persons/co-accused.

It was further submitted by their Counsels that the petitioners were implicated in the case solely on the basis of the disclosure statement of both the co-accused (Rakesh Sharma and Ravdeep Singh @ Sheru) and even subsequent to the disclosure statement, no recovery had been effected from the petitioners.

Lastly, it was also argued by them that they are not involved in any other case and they are in custody since 06.11.2020 (Vikrant Singh), 05.12.2020 (Subash Chander) and 23.04.2021 (Davinder Singh) and in the instant case, the investigation is complete and the challan has been presented. There are 32 witnesses, out of which, one witness has been partially examined, thus, the trial is likely to take time.

On the other hand, the State opposed the petitioners' instant petition for regular bail by submitting that there are call details of conversations exchanged between the three petitioners and the two co-accused, from whom the recovery has been effected.

In response to this argument, the counsels for the petitioner argeud that the prosecution, in its charges sheet, had not given any details as to on what date, the alleged calls had been exchanged, and at any rate, it was further submitted, there is no transcript of the said call details.

Court's observations and order

At the outset, the Court observed that the prosecution had not given the details of dates on which the said calls had been allegedly made by the co-accused, to the petitioners or vice-versa, and moreover, even the transcript of the said conversations was not a part of the record under Section 173 Cr.P.C.

In view of this, taking into account the Gujarat HC's ruling in the case of Yash Jayeshbhai Champaklal Shah (supra), the Court allowed the plea of the petitioners and ordered them to be released on bail on their furnishing bail/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the concerned trial Court/Duty Magistrate.

Advocates Sumer Singh Boparai, and Sidhant Saraswat appeared for the petitioner (CRM-M-39657 of 2020).  Advocate Dinesh Treha appeared for the petitioner (CRM-M-28448 of 2021). Advocate Varinder Basa appeared for the petitioner (CRM-M-26760 of 2021). AAG, Punjab Sarabjit Singh Cheema appeared for the respondent state. 

Case title - Vikrant Singh v. State of Punjab and connected matters

Case Citation- 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 65

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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