The alleged narcotics seizure of Nupur Satija, a defendant in the cruise drug case, was “illegal” as it was not carried out by an authorized female officer, a special NDPS Act court said when granting her bail.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested 20 people, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan, after robbing a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai on October 2. Aryan was released on bail three weeks later.
Satija, a co-defendant, was released on bail on October 30, but the detailed warrant was available on Saturday.
The prosecution had claimed that four “ecstasy” pills were recovered from his possession.
His lawyers affirmed that an authorized official was not present during the seizure, in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Special judge VV Patil said that a witness from the ‘panch’ had registered the accused, but “it is true that there was no officer present and no person authorized to do so carried out panchanama.”
“Therefore, a provision of the NDPS Act has been violated,” the judge said, adding that he was entitled to bail for illegal seizure.
Regarding the prosecution’s accusation of conspiracy, the court said that considering the material placed in the file, it cannot be said that prima facie there was conspiracy and complicity, as alleged.
The WhatsApp chats produced by the NCB referred “only to the consumption of contraband and not to the sale, purchase or any other use of contraband,” the court said.
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