Karnataka

Drug case: Supreme Court grants bail to Ragini Dwivedi

Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi. File photo  

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to Kannada actor Ragini Dwivedi in a drug racket case.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman pointed out that drugs were not found with Ms. Dwivedi, who is accused under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act investigated by the Bengaluru police crime branch.

The court’s decision was based on the finding that allegations against Ms. Dwivedi only pertain to that she had consumed drugs at parties and the Karnataka High Court itself had found the conspiracy charge levelled against her to be tenuous without further delving on it.

Ms. Dwivedi had approached the apex court after her plea for bail was dismissed by the Karnataka High Court in November.

The court said accusations under Section 37 of the Act, that is, possessing commercial quantity of drugs, were prima facie wrongly invoked. Only an offence under Section 27(b) of the Act, for consumption of drugs, could be prima facie made out.

“It can be said Section 37 was wrongly invoked by the Sessions Court and High Court. With this out of the way, this is a case in which bail must follow. We set aside the judgment of the High Court and enlarge the petitioner on bail,” the Supreme Court directed.

The court, on a submission by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, said the observations made in the bail order would not prejudice the trial in the case.

Ms. Dwivedi’s lawyer, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, earlier in the hearing, argued that no contraband was found on the person of his client. There was no material to prove financing. He said the entire case against his client was built upon a statement made by a man, Ravi Shankar. He said she has been in custody for 140 days.

“The only thing is consumption of less than .5 gm of contraband,” said Mr. Luthra.

He referred to the case of another actor, Rhea Chakraborty, which also related to consumption.

Mr. Mehta countered that there were messages between Ms. Dwivedi and various peddlers about the police on the alert. He said urine samples collected were tampered. He advised the court against enlarging the petitioner on bail.

In November, the High Court had rejected bail and anticipatory bail to Ms. Dwivedi and another actor, Archana alias Sanjjanaa Manohar Galrani, and four others.

The Special Court had, on September 28, rejected their bail pleas.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 6:13:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sc-grants-bail-to-kannada-actor-ragini-dwivedi-in-drugs-racket-case/article33624196.ece

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