Probe agencies don’t follow protocol in drugs cases – Court

Probe agencies don't follow protocol in drugs cases - Court
Probe agencies don’t follow protocol in drugs cases – Court

Probe agencies do not follow investigation protocols despite being aware of the gravity of narcotics-related offences, a court here has observed while pulling up Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for framing an African national in a case involving 10 kg heroin.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, while absolving African national Samson Ongera Omoro of the charges of possessing over 10 kg heroin, observed that intelligence officer of DRI R Roy had deliberately tried to mislead the court.
“This Court is conscious of the fact that offences under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act have been considered very serious in nature, which is evident from severe punishment provided on conviction in such cases. But the court always feels a constraint when evidence, which is required to prove the prosecution case, does not come through.

“Knowing fully well the gravity of the offences under the NDPS Act, investigating agencies do not follow protocol of the investigation. A transparent investigation is the need of the day, which should be carried out diligently and in a scientific manner,” the judge observed.

The judge further said that in the absence of such an investigation, benefit of doubt would always go to the accused, as has happened in this case.

The court came down heavily on DRI, saying it has “serious doubt about recovery of contraband from the possession of the accused. The very story of DRI/complainant that recovery of 10.4 kg heroin was effected from the accused in the presence of independent witnesses, has turned out to be unreliable.”

“Therefore, despite being an official witness, who carry a great respect from Courts, I am constrained to observe that Roy has deliberately tried to mislead the Court while deposing in the case,” the judge said.

The court noted that the probe agency named a fictitious ‘panch’ witness (a witness before whom police seals or opens case-related materials at a crime scene) which cast doubt on the complaint.

“The complainant/DRI joined panch witnesses but dropped them. One of the witness Raju is found to be a fictitious person which causes a serious doubt on the entire version of the complaint. Second panch witness Rakesh is unavailable at the given address…

“Therefore, it was incumbent upon Roy to ascertain the identity of the witnesses as well as their addresses. I need not comment further whether this omission on the part of Roy is deliberate to avoid the production of panch witnesses in court or lack of diligence on his part,” the judge said.
The court also said it is expected from official

witnesses to maintain standard of investigation and credibility as they carry the same command, respect and treatment from the Court as any other witness.

According to prosecution, a complaint was filed by Intelligence Officer of the DRI that he received information on July 29, 2010 that a 40-year-old man of African origin would be standing at a bus stand near Burari in south Delhi who would be in possession of drugs.

A raid was conducted by DRI team and the accused was caught possessing around 10 kg of heroin, it said.

The accused claimed that he was falsely implicated and some persons in civil clothes forcibly took him to the DRI officer when he was standing outside his house.

He claimed he was illegally kept and also threatened, pressurised and beaten by the officers, who forced him to write a dictated statement and sign certain blank papers.

The court, while acquitting him, also said, “false plantation of contraband substance when the recovery is heavy may be rare, but is not impossible.

( Source – PTI )

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