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  • In the recent case, Amal Das v The State Of Assam, the Hon’ble Gauhati HC denied anticipatory bail in the case registered under section 21 (c)  /29 of NDPS Act, 1985. The Court also averred the urgent need to curb the menace of drugs and their ill effects on society which has the propensity to destroy the generation as a whole. 
  • The petitioner filed an application to seek pre-arrest bail for a case registered under section 21 (c)  /29 of the NDPS Act, 1985. The petitioner alleged that allegations in the FIR were incorrect however the truck was intercepted and in the search, Eskuf cough syrup in 44,160 bottles in 276 cartons was recovered without any documents. The case of the petitioner was that the psychotropic substance seized was sold by the agency run by the petitioner to a distributor in the Karimganj district.
  • The case further presented by the petitioner is that one Anirudh Kumar Singh was running M/s. Hematech Pharmaceuticals at Narangi. The said Anirudh Kumar Singh had requested the present petitioner, who was running another drug distributorship in the name of ANM Pharmaceuticals to run his distributorship and a Power of Attorney dated 21.01.2021 in favour of the petitioner on the strength of which, the petitioner was running the business of M/s. Hematech Pharmaceutical. 
  • The Court by order dated 07 July 2021 after going through the Case Diary had noticed that there was an issue as to whether the GST invoices were manufactured or genuine and accordingly, directed the Investigating Officer to file a report. However, in the meantime, an interim order was granted in favour of the petitioner.
  • An RTI has also been placed to substantiate the claim of the applicant regarding the authenticity. Of the existence of M/S Nalini Drugs Distributors, Karimganj. There was a major contradiction between the content of the communication of the Inspector of Drug, HQ, and the reply to the RTI received. 
  • It was observed that the proprietor has specifically stated that no consignment of the present nature was ever made and all medicines for the Pharmacy were collected from local stockists and on no occasion, any medicines were procured from beyond the Barrack Valley. The proprietor has also suspected some foul play regarding the license. 
  • The learned Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that after the interim order dated 06.07.2021, the petitioner had appeared before the IO on 15.07.2021 and there is no instance of any misuse. As regards the materials revealed in the updated Case Diary including the statement of Shri Arup Kanti Ghosh, the learned Counsel has submitted that perhaps to avoid any complicacy, the proprietor has simply tried to wriggle out of the matter. He further submitted that the petitioner could not be held liable for misuse of the license of M/s. Nalini Drugs Distributor.
  • On the other hand,  learned Additional Public Prosecutor, Assam has submitted that from the very initiation of movement of the consignment involving a huge number of bottles in cartoons which admittedly was a psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act as the cough syrup contains a substance called Codeine, there are anomalies/illegalities at different stages including GST invoices and therefore, the present might not be a fit case to continue with the interim protection granted to the petitioner.
  • It appeared that the thrust of the argument made on behalf of the petitioner in support of the prayer for bail is that subsequent generation of bills could at best be a violation of the GST Act and not the violation of the NDPS Act. It was further contended that though the articles were psychotropic substances it would come under the exception of Section 8(c) of the Act and transportation of the same with necessary documents was available under the provision to Rule 67(4) of the NDPS Rules. 
  • The Court held that contention on behalf of the petitioner appeared to be acceptable. However, to revelations made during the investigation, the matter turned up to be a very serious one and called for a thorough and meticulous inquiry. The offense involved in this case was one under the NDPS Act and the quantity involved was a commercial quantity. The contraband involved was also chemical manufactured drugs.
  • The Court was of the view that it was a settled position of law that in a case involving the NDPS Act various factors were to be taken into consideration like the quantity of the contraband, nature of the substance, nature of involvement etc. In the present case, the contraband was a commercial quantity and the substance was a chemically manufactured drug. Moreover, Section 37 of the NDPS Act lays down that before granting bail, the relevant factor was that the Court should come to the satisfaction that prima facie the petitioner was not guilty of the offense, and also the petitioner had to satisfy the Court that in case bail was granted, he would not be likely to commit the further offense. The aforesaid two factors do not seem to be fulfilled in the present case, stated the Court. 
  • The IO of the case was directed to make all efforts to investigate the case so that people involved in the heinous crime could be put to book strictly according to the law.
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