Chennai: Pointing out that tobacco is noxious since it is harmful and injurious to health, the Madras high court has declined to quash an FIR registered against four persons pursuant to a seizure of 3,500 kg of banned substances like tobacco, gutka and panmasala from a lorry, which was transported from Bangalore to a godown at Namakkal district.
Justice N.Anand Venkatesh dismissed a petition filed by Thangaraj alias Thangarasu, one of the accused and owner of the godown, which sought to quash an FIR registered by the Inspector of Police, Paramathi Police Station, Namakkal district.
The judge said the police upon intercepting the lorry found that 3,500 kgs of banned Tobacco, packed in nearly 190 boxes was carried in the vehicle. Prima facie, the police were convinced that the vehicle carried Tobacco, Panmasala and Gutkha by means of distinctive odour that was emanating from the goods that were carried. The police have also taken sample packets and sent it to the laboratory to get expert opinion and to get a chemical analysis report in order to subst-antiate/strengthen the case of the prosecution. Therefore, the seizure of the goods and the arrest of driver and cleaner were not in dispute. The accused persons who were arrested by the police have made a confession to the effect that the entire consignment was taken to the godown belonging to the petitioner. This was one strong material that was made available for the purpose of adding the petitioner as an accused in the FIR. Therefore, these materials were enough for the present in order to add the petitioner as an accused in the FIR, pending investigation, the judge added.
The judge said the main ground raised by senior counsel V. Karthik was that there was no material that was available as on date to conclude that the consignment seized was noxious or adulterated in order to attract the offence under section 273 or it was poisonous in order to attract the offence under section 328 IPC....