Bombay High Court denied bail to the accused who was apprehended by the police with 9 others with 203 kg of marijuana in his car, which they were smuggling from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra.
The police received some secret information from an agent that some persons were bringing Contraband (ganja) from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra in a Swift Desire car and the police intercepted 3 cars from which they caught 203 kg and 450 grams of marijuana. All three cars had three passengers each including the two applicants. The case was registered under sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985 before the learned Special Court at Nashik. The special judge refused to grant bail to the applicants on the ground that the quantity of the contrabands recovered was a commercial quantity. The Advocate for the applicant Sunil Jagtap argued that his client was a mere passenger who took a lift in the car which had drugs and he had no knowledge of the presence of any Contraband and thus having no conscious possession of the drugs. The counsel further submitted that there was a loophole in the investigation and his client had no prior criminal record and pleaded his release on bail on these grounds. The Advocate for the second applicant Sharad Karke pleaded on similar ground and said that his client was also a mere passenger without any knowledge of contraband in the car and was not needed to be held in detention till the trial was pending.
The learned Additional Public Prosecutor has opposed the argument submitted by the applicant that since a commercial quantity of contraband was confiscated from the car so the fact that no Contraband was recovered from the personal search of the applicant is immaterial. The prosecution further submitted that applicant Sharad Karke was present in the car at that time. The single-judge bench of Justices C V Bhadang after listening to the argument from both sides reached the conclusion that no sufficient ground for bail is made out. The court also referred to the question of law held that since the commercial quantity of marijuana was recovered the fact that no Contraband was recovered from the personal search was not enough ground as the rest of the quantity was recovered from the same car in which the applicant where traveling.
The court also remarked that "The defense about the applicant being near passenger also cannot be accepted at this is all the applicant Sunil Jagtap claims that he had requested for a lift as you wanted to come from Nagar to Nashik. The applicant Sharad Karke and not even claimed that he had obtained a left the supreme court in the case of Kulwinder Singh was concerned with a similar situation in which the difference about the accused of being a mere passenger in the vehicle from where the Contra man was recovered was not accepted. It is necessary to know that this is not the stage where the evidence can be an exam in or appreciated in detail else otherwise it may predict whether the prosecution or the difference at the trial."