DEEPEN CHETTRI Vs. STATE OF SIKKIM
HIGH COURT OF SIKKIM
STATE OF SIKKIM
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MEENAKSHI MADAN RAI,J. -
(1.) The Petitioner herein is aged about 26 years and having been arrested in connection with Sadar Police Station (FIR) Case No.78 of 2020, dated 15.05.2020, under Sections 7(a)(b)/9/14 of the Sikkim Anti Drugs Act, 2006 ('SADA') read with Section 9(1)(b) of the Sikkim Anti Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2017, seeks to be enlarged on bail.
(2.) It is contended by Learned Counsel for the Petitioner that, in fact, no controlled substances as detailed in the Seizure Memo, were seized from the possession of the Petitioner, however, he was remanded to judicial custody from 30.11.2020 after his arrest on the same date. That, subsequent to that, the Petitioner applied for bail before the Learned Special Judge, SADA, 2006, East Sikkim at Gangtok, however, his Bail Petition was rejected vide Order dated 14.12.2020, passed in Criminal Misc. Case (SADA) Bail No.90 of 2020. That, presently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an alarming rate of cases detected amongst the inmates in State Central Jail, Rongyek, hence, he is not only at the risk of contracting the virus but is also unable to prepare his defence in the matter on account of his inability to contact his Lawyer due to the ensuing pandemic. That, he is innocent and has not committed the offence accused of. Learned Counsel further submits that if enlarged on bail, the Petitioner will make himself available on all dates fixed in the Court for the purposes of trial. That, in fact, Charge has been framed against the Petitioner under Rule 17(1) of the Sikkim Anti Drugs Rules, 2006 read with Sections 9(1)(a)(b)(c) and 9(4) of the SADA, 2006 and Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1908, however, as per the Order of the Learned Trial Court, the first Prosecution Witness is summoned only on 07.06.2021 and till such date the trial is taken up, the Petitioner will be incarcerated despite his innocence. That, all that emanates in the Charge-Sheet to implicate the Petitioner, is the Statement of the co-accused Krishna Gopal Chettri and it is a settled position of law that the Statement of a coaccused is not substantive evidence against another accused. On this count, reliance was placed on Surinder Kumar Khanna v. Intelligence Officer Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (2018) 8 SCC 271. Hence, the Petitioner be enlarged on bail on any terms and conditions deemed appropriate by this Court.
(3.) Resisting the arguments of Learned Counsel for the Petitioner, Learned Assistant Public Prosecutor for the State-Respondent submitted that the conduct of the Petitioner is also to be taken into account. Once the investigation commenced, the Petitioner was not traceable in his residence despite all efforts made by the Investigating Officer ('I.O.'). In fact, the Petitioner remained untraceable for three months after the FIR was lodged and subsequently the I.O. arrested him on 30.11.2020 after having received source information about his whereabouts, since then he has been in judicial custody. That, the Petitioner was with the co-accused Krishna Gopal Chettri also named in the FIR on the relevant day and they had jointly procured the large quantity of controlled substances, as reflected in the Seizure Memo and hence the question of the Petitioner being innocent does not arise. Considering his conduct, should he be enlarged on bail, it is likely that he will not appear before the Court for the purposes of trial thereby delaying the trial and hindering justice and his Bail Petition thereby deserves a dismissal.;
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