Drugs case probe: Women staff to be present for actress Charmme

Deccan Chronicle.  | S.A. Ishaqui

Nation, Current Affairs

The examination shall be completed by 5 pm on July 26, the judge said.

Hyderabad High Court

Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday granted partial relief to actress Charmme, directing the Special Investigation Team of the excise enforcement department to follow the law while questioning her in the presence of women officers in the drugs case.

Justice A. Rajasekhar Reddy, while disposing of the actress’ petition, told SIT to ensure that the petitioner would not be compelled to give her blood, hair and nail samples. The judge said the presence of her lawyer is not required as she is not an accused in the case. The examination shall be completed by 5 pm on July 26, the judge said.

Following this, an official later said that the actress would appear before the SIT at 10.30 am on Wednesday.

Charmme petition is a stunt, says TS counsel
The actress had urged the court to direct the SIT not to compel her to give testimony and collect samples by way of coercion.

Counsel Vishnuvarhan Reddy appearing for the actress said she apprehended that the SIT wold compel her to give testimony which could be self-incriminating.

Pointing out that the petitioner was unmarried, counsel said Articles 20(3) and 22(1) of the Constitution mandated the presence of a lawyer at the time of examination of the accused by the police to prevent the accused from giving involuntary self-incriminating ans-wers.

Stating that SIT had been examining witnesses for hours together, he urged the court to direct the SIT to complete the examination of the petitioner by 5 pm.

Government counsel Sharath Kumar said no witness was being compelled to give testimony. He said doctors had collected samples from director Puri Jagannadh and others with their consent. Actor Navadeep had refused to give the samples and the SIT had not compelled him.

He said that the SIT has woman officers and the actress would be questioned in their presence. He said the SIT had given her the option to choose the venue for questioning — her home or the SIT office. She had volunteered to visit the SIT office, he said.

Terming the petition as a “publicity stunt”, government counsel said that the drug bust had damaged the image of the city and some unscrupulous elements were supplying drugs to school children and government is firm in eradicating this social evil. He said the SIT was examining  film personalities based on the statement of the prime accused 

The judge said the guidelines of the SC in Nandini Satpathy v P.L. Dani were applicable for those accused in a case and not for witnesses, the judge disposed of the case by asking SIT to follow law while examining the actress.