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Seizure Not Conducted by Authorised Officer in Cruise Drugs Case: Court While Giving Bail to Accused

The alleged seizure of narcotic drugs from Nupur Satija, an accused in the drugs-on-cruise case, was “illegal” as it wasn’t conducted by an authorised woman officer, a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court has said while granting her bail.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested 20 persons including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan after raiding a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast on October 2. Aryan got bail three weeks later.

Satija, a co-accused, was granted bail on October 30, but the detailed order became available on Saturday.

The prosecution had claimed that four pills of Ecstasy were recovered from her possession.

Her lawyers claimed that an authorised woman officer, as mandated by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, was not present during the seizure.

Special judge V.V. Patil said a female panch witness had searched the accused, but “admittedly, there was no lady officer present and no panchanama was carried out by person authorised for that purpose”.

“Therefore there is breach of a provision of the NDPS Act,” the judge said, adding that she was entitled to bail on the ground of illegal seizure.

On the prosecution’s claim of conspiracy, the court said considering the material placed on record it can not be said that prima-facie there was conspiracy and abetment, as alleged.

The WhatsApp chats produced by the NCB were regarding “only consumption of contraband and not regarding sale, purchase or for any other use of contraband,” the court said.

(PTI)

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