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Thiruvananthapuram court reprimands police for lapse in 200-kg ganja case

Accused trio granted default bail

January 24, 2023 08:38 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:16 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Thiruvananthapuram Rural police have come under fire for failing to prevent the default bail of three accused who had been arrested with alleged possession of over 200 kg of ganja last year.

Coming down heavily on the serious lapse that is bound to raise questions on the government’s resolve towards countering drug proliferation in Kerala, the Thiruvananthapuram Additional and Sessions Court I has instructed the State Police Chief to act against the investigation officer who had failed to submit the chargesheet within 180 days of the arrests. The order was issued on January 21 after a bail application submitted by the accused persons were considered.

The case pertained to the seizure of 200.6 kg of ganja from a house at Kavara, near Venjaramoodu, on July 16, 2022. Three people – Kishore, alias Kichu, of Punalal, Vimod of Varkala and Manu of Sreekaryam – had been arrested by the Venjaramoodu police in the case. They were booked under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and have remained in judicial custody ever since.

Thiruvananthapuram Additional Sessions Judge-I K. Sanilkumar observed that the investigation team had submitted the final report in the case only on January 19. By then, 186 days had elapsed since the date of the arrests.

The prosecution led by Additional Public Prosecutor Rex D.G. claimed to have received no report from the investigation officer indicating the progress of the probe and specific reasons that warranted the detention of the trio beyond the default bail period of 180 days.

While accepting the bail plea, the judge was critical of the “onerous attitude” of the investigation officer that may pave the way for the accused to go scot-free even when the quantity of the contraband was large enough to fall under the rubric of commercial quantity as specified in the NDPS Act.

“This type of gross dereliction from the part of the investigation officer deserves to be deprecated,” the court observed, while calling for a severe deterrent to prevent such lapses in the future.

The court ordered the release of the trio under stringent bail conditions, including the execution of bonds for ₹1 lakh each with two solvent sureties. They have been instructed to appear before the investigation officer on all Wednesdays and Saturdays and also surrender their passport.

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