Cancelling the bail of six persons, including a taxi driver, found with 25 kg of the party drug methamphetamine, popularly known as Ice, the Bombay high court said such people should be dealt with sternly.
Justice JH Bhatia said, “The trial court committed a serious error in granting bail to the accused and therefore, in the larger interest of justice, it is necessary to set aside the said orders.”
The offence is punishable with imprisonment of not less than 10 years, which may be extended to 20 years with a fine. Section 31 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act provides for the death sentence for a second conviction if the offence involves a commercial quantity – more that 50 gm. Following a tip-off in June 2009, the Narcotics Central Bureau, Mumbai, intercepted Jagdish Singh, Harvinder Singh and Harjinder Ram near the Oberoi Mall at Goregaon (East), when they arrived in a Toyota Innova car and delivered the contraband to taxi driver Veer Bahadur Singh.
During interrogation it was revealed that the contraband was brought from Punjab to be delivered to Anil Kumar Menon. The taxi driver said Menon and one G Samuel alias Anna used to provide strategic and logistical support for exporting the drugs to Cambodia.
The accused contended that even though methampethamine is shown as a psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act, it was not shown in Schedule I of the NDPS Rules and, therefore, its possession or transportation could not be an offence.
Based on the argument, the special court granted them bail on March 3, 2010. The union government challenged the bail before the high court.
Advocates for the union government – FE Saldanha, Revati Mohite Dere, Smita Deokar and Mandar Goswami – argued that methamphetamine is a psychotropic substance in the NDPS Act. Menon claimed he had a certificate for export and import as well as a licence from the Food and Drug Administration, Maharashtra, for sale, storage and manufacture of certain medicines. But, the card is a general importer exporter card that is of no use in the case of psychotropic substances like methampethamine.