A director of a company will have to face trial in case of cocaine seizure from a consignment imported by his firm as the Bombay high court refused to quash the first information report registered against him under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act.
A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AR Joshi recently dismissed the petition filed by Umesh Bangur, chartered accountant and director of OPM International Limited, seeking quashing of the prosecution initiated against him by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in May 2006.
Bangur had challenged the prosecution on the ground that he was merely a professional director of the company with no active role in the operations.
The court rejected Bangur’s contention and dismissed the plea, adding, “It is the case of the prosecution that the role played by the petitioner was not limited to that of professional director but his involvement is something more than that and being party to criminal conspiracy.”
Bangur had also contended that the NCB did not have the jurisdiction to seize drugs in the high seas, as Customs was the competent authority in this regard.
Officers of the NCB, Customs and Mumbai police boarded Maersk Rotterdam ship after it entered Indian waters in May 2006.
The officers had seized more than 28 kg of cocaine from the vessel, which was bound for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust at Nhava Sheva.
The consignment was loaded in the vessel at Guayaquil Port in Ecuador, South America.
“Suffice it to observe that this is not a fit case for quashing of complaint, more so on the ground that the complaint is based on the action of officials of the NCB, which was palpably without authority of law,” the court said.
In its 37-page judgment, the court said: “The correctness of these allegations will have to be examined during the trial, keeping in mind the defence of the petitioner, if any. Suffice it is to observe that the argument of the petitioner to quash the criminal complaint against him is devoid of merits.”
Apart from Bangur, two other directors — Omprakash Nagoja and Vijay Nagoja — and Customs house agent Anant Throve were booked under the NDPS Act and are currently facing trial.