The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a citizen of Bolivia who had concealed 50 capsules of cocaine inside his stomach on the ground that he has been in custody for more than six years.

A Single Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma held, “… considering the duration of custody of more than 06 years and the fact that trial has not yet been concluded, this Court is inclined to grant regular bail to the present accused/applicant on furnishing a personal bond in sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh) with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of Trial Court/ Duty Magistrate/ Link Magistrate/ Successor Court”

The Bench took note of the fact that the accused was not seeking a grant of regular bail on merits, but rather on account of the duration of his custody and delay in trial.

Advocate Adarsh Priyadarshi appeared for the petitioner/accused while Senior Standing Counsel Subhash Bansal appeared for the respondent/NCB (Narcotics Control Bureau).

In this case, the accused sought regular bail in a case registered under Sections 21, 23, and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). The accused, a foreign national, had arrived via flight near the Gate at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, and upon enquiry, he disclosed that he had concealed capsules of cocaine inside his stomach which could be recovered with medical help.

Thereafter, 50 capsules weighing 500 grams, containing white-coloured powder identified as cocaine, were recovered from the stomach of the accused at a hospital. As per the prosecution, the accused in his statement under Section 67 NDPS Act had disclosed that the contraband was given to him by his cousin to deliver in India and that he had initially swallowed 80 capsules but in the middle of the journey, he had vomited about 30 capsules at Sao Paulo Airport, Brazil.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “… the applicant was arrested on 17.05.2017 and has been in judicial custody for more than 06 years and 01 month. Further, the applicant is facing trial in a case where he has been accused of commission of offences under Sections 21/23/29 of NDPS Act. This Court notes that the punishment prescribed under these provisions is rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but may extend to twenty years, alongwith fine.”

It was submitted on behalf of the NCB that as of now, 4 witnesses remain to be examined before the Trial Court and hence, in this regard, the Court requested the Trial Court to expeditiously record the evidence of the remaining witnesses and conclude the trial, within a period of six months from the date of receipt of its order.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the application and granted bail to the accused.

Cause Title- Soleto Justniano Fernando Tito v. Narcotics Control Bureau (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:5191)

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