A special court while rejecting the relief of pre-arrest bail to actor Deepika Padukone’s manager Karishma Prakash has said that while statements of co-accused are not admissible as evidence during trial as per a recent SC ruling, they can be considered while deciding plea for anticipatory bail.a
Prakash is under probe in the drugs case connected with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. In a search conducted in her residence last year, the Narcotics Control Bureau had recovered 1.7 gm charas, small quantity of CBD oil and 3 empty vials of CBD oil.
The apex court had ruled last year in the Tofan Singh judgment that statements of co-accused will not be admissible evidence during the trial of a case. Prakash’s advocates had relied on this while arguing for the relief as some alleged drug peddlers arrested in the case had named her.
Special judge under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act VV Vidwans said that though statements of the co-accused would not be admissible as evidence during the trial of the case, it can be considered by the court while deciding anticipatory bail application at the stage of investigation as prime facie circumstance on record and material against the applicant.
The court further said that apart from statements of some co-accused persons, the prosecution has been able to produce on record other evidence in the form of digital evidence and call recording and tower location. “The prosecution has been able to show some independent evidence/material or circumstances against the applicant,” it stated.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had proposed the addition of a stringent provision of the NDPS Act while the present plea was pending. Prakash had in turn contended that the provision was applied as she had not succumbed to the coercion by some officers of the NCB to change her lawyer. She had produced call recordings before court to substantiate her allegation. The court said regarding this that it had gone through the transcription of the audio recordings and though certain officials of the NCB appear to be involved in the said conversation..,that would not be sufficient to accept the contention of malafides. “Assuming for the sake of argument that there exists malafides on the part of prosecution, it cannot override the merits of the case..”
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