Staff Reporter

Persons can be jailed for six months, fined

Police dependent on statements of Rahul, Karan, TishaySahil's statement may also be crucial

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have registered a case under Section 27 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Prevention) Act in connection with the Rahul Mahajan episode on the basis of preliminary information indicating that a narcotic substance was consumed on Thursday night.

As per provisions of the Act, anyone possessing or consuming even small quantities of cocaine, morphine, diacetyl-morphine or any other such substance may be sent to jail for six months or fined, or both. It is also a bailable offence.

Onus on accused

The Act places the onus of proving that any narcotic substances recovered were meant for personal consumption and not commercial use or distribution squarely on the accused.

As per legal interpretation, the accused cannot take the plea that the amount involved is so little that the law should not take note of it. However, the prosecution has to prove that at least some amount was recovered from the person in order to prove the charge.

As far as possession of cocaine is concerned, any person found to be in possession of two grams or more of the drug would be booked for drug trafficking. In case the accused manages to swallow some quantity of the drug on seeing a police team, he would be charged with possession and not consumption, say legal experts.

In the Rahul Mahajan case, some white powder purportedly recovered from the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Pramod Mahajan's 7 Safdarjung Road residence was handed over to the police. However, the police are still dependent on the statements of Rahul, Karan, Tishay, the three men who surrendered on Friday night. The testimony of Sahil, arrested on Saturday in Srinagar, may also turn out to be crucial.

Initial information

Talking to reporters on Saturday, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Manish Aggarwal, said the case was registered on the basis of the initial information and, if any evidence of drug peddling or consumption of drugs emerge, action would be taken accordingly. With the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital saying that examinations carried out on Mr. Mahajan's urine and blood samples did not reveal any trace of known drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, the police would have to wait for the forensic analysis of his stomach fluid, as well as the viscera report of Bibek Moitra, Pramod Mahajan's personal secretary, before they can come to any conclusion on whether they consumed drugs.