New Delhi, Apr 23 (ILNS): The Calcutta High Court has granted bail to a man, who was arrested with 153 kg Ganja in a car and filed a plea seeking suspension of sentence and bail during the pendency of his appeal.
The appellant was convicted and sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs one lakh fine by the Trial Court for the commission of offence under Sections 20(b)(ii)(C)/29/25 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The High Court noted after the perusal of the Judgement passed by the trial court that the only basis on which the applicant appears to have been held guilty was on the basis of his statement recorded under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the effect that the concerned Sccar is jointly owned by him. “Whether or not that would suffice for holding him guilty for abetment or criminal conspiracy to commit an offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the NDPS Act is, in our opinion, a highly arguable point,” the High Court further noted in its order.
The Division bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee held, “On the whole, we are satisfied that the appeal, in its final consideration, would call for adjudication as to the sustainability of the finding of the applicant’s guilt and consequential order of conviction and sentence. That would naturally be based on the appreciation of the legal evidence on record and other facts and factors which may be relevant at that stage. We are of the view that the applicant has a reasonably arguable case for acquittal at the final hearing of the appeal.”
The bench also noticed “that the applicant was on bail throughout the trial. It is nobody’s case that the applicant jumped the bail or breached any condition of bail.”
The Counsel for the appellant contended before the High Court –
1. that the vehicle from which the commercial quantity of Ganja was seized, is jointly owned by the appellant and his mother, Rashmoni Devi, who is one of the other accused persons.
2. Three out of four accused persons including the appellant mother were in the vehicle when the seizure was made.
3. The applicant was not present at the scene.
4. No recovery was made from the applicant. The applicant has been linked in only under Section 29 of the NDPS Act for abetment and criminal conspiracy.
The High Court further held, “The applicant, Raju Jaiswal, shall be released on bail upon furnishing a bond of Rs three lakh with three solvent sureties of Rs 50,000 each, one of whom must be local, to the satisfaction of learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Calcutta, on condition that the appellant shall appear before the convicting court once in a month until further orders and shall be personally present or be represented before this Court when the appeal is taken up for hearing and on further condition that the applicant shall not involve himself in any activity which may amount to an offence punishable under the law.”
It said here any condition is imposed for the release of any person on bail, the bond shall also contain that condition.
(3) If the case so requires, Calcutta HC grants bail to a man found with 153kg ganja, pending disposal of his appeal against conviction bail to appear, when called upon at the High Court, Court of Session or other court to answer the charge.
(4) For the purpose of determining whether the sureties are fit or sufficient, the court may accept affidavits in proof of the facts contained therein relating to the sufficiency or fitness of the sureties, or, if it considers necessary, may either hold an inquiry itself or cause an inquiry to be made by a Magistrate subordinate to the court, as to such sufficiency or fitness.