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Afzalgunj ganja case: Investigation lapses lead to acquittal of 2

DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent

Published on: September 19, 2023 | Updated on: September 20, 2023

When a person is caught on suspicion of drugs, he should be searched in the presence of an independent Gazetted officer. (Representational Image: DC)

Hyderabad: Terming the investigation adopted by the investigating officer as strange and also stating that compliance with statutory requirements and procedures is mandatory during the investigation, a city court acquitted two persons arrested by Afzalgunj police for possession of ganja in August 2017.

"On careful perusal of the above evidence, it discloses that there are several procedural and legal lapses on the part of the investigating agency," observed the court.

When a person is caught on suspicion of drugs, he should be searched in the presence of an independent Gazetted officer. In the case at hand, an excise department official was the witness when police searched the accused. Being an excise official, his main duty being detection of narcotic offences, he will have interest in such cases. Police could not make any effort to secure any Gazetted officer from another department.

"Not securing a readily available independent Gazetted officer from the nearest school and securing the Gazetted officer from Excise Station, Dhoolpet which is a distant place, throws great doubt on the prosecution case," noted the court in the recently delivered verdict.

Another independent witness, an RTC employee supported the prosecution case, but his version contradicted that of the excise official (Gazetted). Further, the Gazetted officer’s evidence did not corroborate with the version of the RTC employee or the investigating officer.

The court further said that there was no consistency among these witnesses and the benefit of such inconsistency should invariably be given to the accused.

The court also found that the drug was not produced before the magistrate soon after the seizure and there was a delay of more than six months and after sending one sample for chemical analysis to certify the inventory and drawing representative samples before the magistrate. "The evidence available on record also shows that the alleged seized property was also tampered with," said the court, while acquitting the accused.