Bombay HC grants bail to two, says statements under Sec 67 of NDPS Act not admissible as evidence

Observing that statements recorded before investigation officer under Section 67 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cannot be relied upon as evidence against the accused, the Bombay High Court recently granted bail to two persons booked for being part of a drug syndicate from which nearly four kg of hashish was recovered by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in 2018.

A single judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik passed the order on December 21 on bail pleas by Shashikant Prabhu and Harshad Gawde filed through advocates Rajendra Shahasane and Vinay Nair, respectively.

The NCB on March 13, 2018 received specific information that one person was to arrive at the main gate of a mall in Andheri (West) with a substantial quantity of hashish for another person to take delivery. The NCB team encircled the vehicle carrying three persons and recovered 20 packets of contraband. The NCB also conducted a search of nearby restaurant premises owned by one of the accused and they were arrested on March 15, 2018.

Thereafter, the statements of the accused were recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, which empowers an investigating officer to seek information from any person and examine him or her to ascertain contravention of the anti-narcotics law. Based on these statements, applicants were arrested next month.