Tripura High Court Affirms Conviction of Man Accused of Trafficking Drugs

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Excerpt

The division bench of Justice Anil Kureshi and Justice Arindam Lodh gave a verdict in CRL. A.(J) 23 of 2019. The court upheld the conviction of a person under the NDPS act for drug trafficking.

Facts

The police received information from a source that the accused Ajit Debbarma had accumulated a large quantity of ganja in his residence. The police also had information that the ganja was soon about to be smuggled into Bangladesh. The local police communicated the information to the superintendent and raided the house of the accused. Two local witnesses were present. The wife of the accused was informed of the charges and she consented to the raid. The accused was absent. The police recovered a large amount of dry ganja. The accused later surrendered and pleaded ignorance of the incriminating evidence. After hearing both sides the trial court found the accused guilty under Section 20(b)(ii)(c) and 25 of the NDPS Act, 1985. The aggrieved accused appealed.

Arguments of the Appellants

The counsel for the appellant, Mr Debbarma argued that the police did not follow the proper procedure required under the NDPS act while recovery, seizure and custody of the articles under sections 41,42 and 43. It was also contended that the prosecution had failed to prove that the house belonged to the accused. 

Arguments of the Respondents

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Mr S. Debnath appearing for the state argued that it was clear from the testimony of the witnesses that the accused was the owner of the house. He also argued that all provisions of the NDPS act were strictly complied with.

Analysis of the Court

The Court analysed the evidence provided before it and concluded that the accused was the owner of the house. The court observed that under section 41(2) of the NDPS act issuance of a warrant by the magistrate is not mandatory to conduct a raid. An officer designated by the act can also authorise a subordinate officer to conduct a raid in an urgency. But the reason for the absence of a warrant needs to be clearly written by the investigating officer. Here there was an urgency as the goods were about to be smuggled to Bangladesh. Also, detailed information of the urgency was communicated to the SP within 72 hours as per NDPS act. Also, these facts were not contended by the appellant.

Judgement

The Court upheld the conviction of the appellant by the lower court and dismissed the appeal. 

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Click here to view the Judgement


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