Drug kingpin Ranjit Singh alias Raja Kandola's girlfriend Vanya Khanna (25), a member of his drug racket, was on Monday sentenced to 10-year imprisonment in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The police had recovered 2 kg of heroin from her possession in June 2012. A case under sections 21, 61 and 85 of the Act had been registered against her at the Garhshankar police station.
Kandola, a UK-based NRI, was arrested in August last year. He escaped from police custody in September, but was re-arrested soon. He is presently lodged in New Delhi's Tihar jail.
Days after the Jalandhar rural police busted the Rs. 200-crore 'Ice' (drug) racket involving Kandola and his men, the Garhshankar police had arrested Vanya and recovered heroin hidden under concrete slabs near a deserted petrol pump at Panam village in Hoshiarpur district.
Countering the police claim, Vanya had stated that she was picked up from SAS Nagar. She also produced the bill of a five-star hotel of Chandigarh to show that she was in the state capital on June 1, 2012, but the court of additional sessions judge JS Bhinder rejected her assertion on the ground that the police had arrested her two days later (June 3). Her other contention, that the contraband was planted on her, was also rejected by the court.
Invoking Section 35 of the NDPS Act, the court said it was for the accused to prove that she was not in "conscious possession" of the drug. Maintaining that the evidence brought on record by the prosecution was "cogent, convincing and reliable", the court pronounced her guilty.
Police sources said Vanya, who was an IT (information technology) professional in New Delhi, had joined the drug mafia in pursuit of money and a lavish lifestyle. During his appearances in the district court in connection with the case registered at Garhshankar, Kandola had confessed before the media that Vanya was his girlfriend. She would hurl abuses at the police and the media whenever brought to the court for a hearing, but on Monday, when the court pronounced the verdict, she was in tears.