Monday, August 8, 2022

Supreme Court grants bail to handicapped man accused of NDPS, MCOCA offences

The Bench observed that the Petitioner is accused as a part of syndicate dealing & selling of brown sugar, however he is in custody since January, 2018 & investigation is completed & charge-sheet has been filed and the main accused is in Custody. 

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The Supreme Court has granted bail to a handicapped man, who is accused of offences under NDPS and MCOC Acts, on humanitarian grounds, after noting that he has been in custody for more than four years and there is no possibility of the trial commencing in the near future. 

A two-judge bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sunderesh granted bail taking into consideration the physical condition of the accused. However, noted that the given facts of the case not be treated as precedent for other co-accused.

The Court was informed by counsel for petitioner/accused that he is a handicapped person with a Jaipur foot (amputated leg) who has lost about 12 kg of weight in custody so much so that even the prosthetic does not fit him properly. “No contraband was recovered from him. Some contraband was shown as having been recovered at the instance of other accused, but there was no recovery at the instance of petitioner,” his counsel added. 

The Bench observed that the petitioner is accused as a part of syndicate dealing & selling of brown sugar, however he is in custody since January, 2018 and investigation is completed and charge-sheet has been filed and the main accused is in custody. 

Looking to at fact that the trial is even yet to commence, the appellant is in custody for four years, the period of custody itself would logically break from the syndicate the head of which is in custody, said the bench rejecting the objection raised by State Counsel on ground that the provision of MCOC Act have been invoked as the appellant was found connected with a syndicate of Aarti Misal, who is in custody. 

“Looking at his physical condition we are inclined to grant bail to the appellant on terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the trail court,” noted the bench in its order. 

Apart from any other condition, the appellant will report to local police station on alternate Mondays in the forenoon, directed the bench. It also given liberty to the prosecution to cancel the bail in the event it found appellant indulging in trade of drugs or any other offence is detected against him. 

In 2017, the Anti-Narcotic Squad, Crime Branch, Pune arrested two persons namely Gopinath Navnath Misal & Hussain Papa Shaikh who were carrying 34 gm brown sugar each. Upon investigation accused Gopinath informed police that he was sent by Aarti Misal, her sister Pooja Misal, Nilofer Shaikh, Azhar Shaikh and the petitioner to collect this contraband from Hussain, the other accused.

An FIR was lodged under sections of NDPS Act at Khadak police station, Pune and in January 2018, police arrested petitioner and other accused. Pursuant to their statements, kilos of Heroin and Brown Sugar were recovered. Pursuant to multiple recoveries, the provisions of MCOC Act were invoked.

The proposal to apply MCOC provisons show that the accused Aarti had two previous offences registered against her under the NDPS Act at Khadak police station and at Pimpri police station. The approval under MCOC Act mentions that, Aarti was the gang leader. 

The Bombay High Court had rejected the Bail Application filed by Petitioner after observing that Charge-sheet contains statements of raiding party members and various panchanamas showing recovery of various contraband articles, as mentioned earlier. The important circumstances against the Petitioner are confessional statements of two main accused Gopinath Misal and Hussain Papa Shaikh recorded the MCOC Act. Statements were recorded of the all accussed & witnesses who stated direct involvement & clear role of the Petitioner & cleared that he was a close associate of Aarti and was member of the organized crime syndicate.

The High Court had noted vide its bail rejection order dated 31/07/2021, “that statements against the accused shows his clear role and there was sufficient material against him. Therefore, considering the specific bar and restrictions under Section 37 of the NDPS Act, as well as under Section 21(4) of the MCOC Act, this court cannot grant bail.”

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