Accused entitled to benefit of doubt in absence of concrete evidence collected in raids under NDPS Act

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of A.K. Pathak, J., set aside a conviction order by giving benefit of doubt to the accused-appellants. Appellant Pappu Kumar alias Kallu had been convicted under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the NDPS Act, 1985, and sentenced to 12 years RI with fine of Rs. 1,50,000 whereas appellant Deepak Sharma, had been convicted under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) of the Act and sentenced to 4 years RI with fine of Rs. 50,000.

The prosecution story revolves around the information given by a secret informer that the appellants would arrive at a location to supply a large quantity of ganja to someone. According, to prosecution’s story, a raiding party was formed and it went to the location along with the informer, a group of bystanders were asked to join the raiding party but they refused. The appellants were arrested and notice under Section 50 of the Act was served to them. However they refused, in writing to go to the nearest gazetted officer of any of the departments mentioned in Section 42 or to the nearest Magistrate to have their search conducted before them. It was further stated that 10 kg ganja was recovered from both the persons, out of which 250 gm were taken from each bundle of contraband as sample. Further, it was stated that more ganja was recovered from the residence of the accused persons, for a total of 95 kg.

The Court noted that there were inherent discrepancies in the story. The absence of FSL prompted that tampering of samples could not be ruled out. A recovery witness who accompanied the team while raiding the alleged residence of the accused persons also did not support the prosecution story. The Court opined that the accused were entitled to benefit of doubt in this case. Appeals disposed of. [Pappu Kumar v. State,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 8437, decided on 17-04-2018]

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