Drug crime

Sale of narcotic drug on credit is different from financing the activity of sale of narcotic drug: Bombay High Court

The expression ‘financing of a narcotic drug’ is not related to the payment of the value of the narcotic drug. It is rather an activity that involves sale or purchase of narcotic drugs wherein an individual invests or provides funds for facilitating the activities that involve drugs. A single judge bench consisting of Justice Sarang V Kotwal while adjudicating the matter in Rhea Chakraborty v. UOI [CRIMINAL BAIL APPLICATION (STAMP) NO. 2386 OF 2020] dealt with the issue of bail application for the Applicant for dealing with drugs.

Upon receiving secret information, the respondent NCB (Narcotics Control Bureau) approached a drug peddler who disclosed that he used to receive drugs for a famous actor named Sushant Singh Rajput.  According to him, financial issues for purchase of drugs were dealt by Sushant Singh Rajput. The Applicant who is a Bollywood actress, acknowledged the statements of the accused and explained her role by stating that she was involved in procurement of drugs along with financing of illicit drug dealing.

According to respondents, the Applicant was an active member of a drug syndicate connected with drug supplies. She was a prominent member of supply chain of drugs to Sushant Singh Rajput and she was handling the finances as well. The Applicant used to procure drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput and manage finances along with Sushant Singh Rajput for drug procurement. The Applicant was aware that Sushant Singh Rajput was engaged in consumption and, yet, she harboured him and concealed him whilst he was engaged in consuming drugs and was therefore indirectly responsible for the suicide of the famous actor. The respondents contended that there was nothing to show that such consumption facilitated by the present Applicant, exceeded small quantity of contraband. Therefore, the offences are bailable as far as the present Applicant is concerned, and hence, she is entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right.

The Court held that in this case, the investigation did not reveal any recovery either from the Applicant or from the house of Sushant Singh Rajput. It is their own case that the drugs were already consumed and hence there was no recovery. There is nothing to show that the Applicant had committed any offence involving commercial quantity of contraband. The material at the highest shows that she has committed an offence involving contraband. Further, it is necessary for the investigating agency to show that her activities or contravention involved commercial quantity of a Narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Since the Applicant is not a part of the chain of drug dealers and has not forwarded any drugs procured by her to somebody else to gain a monetary benefit, there are no reasonable grounds that prove that the Applicant is likely to commit an offence while she is on bail.   

The Bench hence sounded the judgment that, “I have imposed sufficiently stringent conditions on the Applicant. Some further condition can be imposed for a limited period to take care of the request made by learned ASG though I am not inclined to grant stay to the order. If finally the order is set aside and the bail is cancelled, the Applicant will be available for being arrested again.”

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