Bombay High Court Acquits Zimbabwe Woman Caught With 946 gm Cocaine Concealed In Stomach, Rectum

Bombay High Court Acquits Zimbabwe Woman Caught With 946 gm Cocaine Concealed In Stomach, Rectum

She was acquitted by the Bombay High Court on grounds that she wasn’t apprised about her rights to be searched before the purging process at the hospital.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, February 24, 2024, 11:50 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

A 33-year-old Zimbabwe national caught with 946gm of cocaine concealed in her stomach and rectum in the form of 78 pellets in 2015 while travelling from the UAE has been acquitted by the Bombay High Court on grounds that she wasn’t apprised about her rights to be searched before the purging process at the hospital. She was convicted by a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court. 

Details of case

On November 23, 2015, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had information that Basikoro Cremancia Sophia was expected to reach Mumbai airport via Etihad Airways with suspected narcotic contraband. She was cornered and was apprised about her rights to be searched before a magistrate or a gazetted officer. As she denied, the officers searched her person and belongings and requested for medical examination, for which the officers approached the magistrate. The permission for a pregnancy test, HIV test, and abdominal X-ray was granted a day later.

The doctor found two oval pellets from the rectum and admitted her in the casualty ward for release/surgical removal of other pellets. In the next five days, she released a total of 78 pellets weighing nearly 1.07kg containing 946gm of cocaine.

The woman was hence prosecuted for smuggling a narcotic substance into the country. She was convicted by the special NDPS court on October 29, 2021. Through her lawyer, Shekhar Bhandary, she approached the Bombay HC challenging the conviction, pleading that she was not apprised about her rights and there was no compliance of the mandatory provisions as prescribed in the act.

Though the HC agreed that she declined to be examined in the presence of a magistrate, nothing was found at the airport. “As per suspicion, she was brought to the hospital, but it was necessary to examine the accused again in the presence of a magistrate, which wasn’t done,” the court said.

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