Convict under Section 21(c) NDPS Act acquitted in light of doubtful link evidence of depositing recovered case property

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mukta Gupta, J. allowed an appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 21(c) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The prosecution case was that one Romy (co-accused) was apprehended by the police while supplying contraband substance. Case property (46 grams of the contraband substance) was recovered from him. On Romy’s revealing that he is supplied the said contraband from the appellant, he was also apprehended. Case property (105 grams of the contraband substance) was also recovered from the appellant. The appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court as mentioned above. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and found that as per the malkhana register, the alleged recovery of case properties from the two accused was deposited at the same time on 23 August 2012. However, the recovery from Romy had already been made on the previous day, i.e. 22 August 2012. In view of the Court, the contradiction with respect to deposit the case properties in malkhana pursuant to the two recoveries goes to the root of the matter. The same creates serious doubt in the link evidence that the case properties were kept in safe custody and were not tampered with. In such circumstances, the Court held that the appellant was entitled to benefit of doubt. The appeal was allowed and the convict was acquitted of the offence. [Earnest v. State (NCT of Delhi), Crl. A. 1112 of 2016, dated 27-8-2018]

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