2023 Tramadol Seizure: Bombay HC Denies Bail To 2; Relief For Courier Manager

2023 Tramadol Seizure: Bombay HC Denies Bail To 2; Relief For Courier Manager

Court said there is adequate material to show that the duo attempted to export Tramadol sans authorisation.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 11:06 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of two accused booked by Customs department’s Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) for allegedly smuggling 21 packages containing 10.5 lakh Tramadol tablets worth Rs21 crore in February 2023. The court, however, granted bail to Ravindra Kavthankar, a courier manager with M/s Galaxy Freight Forwarder, observing that it was prima facie debatable whether he was privy to the alleged offences.

On February 27, 2023, the CIU intercepted a huge consignment of Tramadol tablets weighing 720 kg before it could be shipped to a pharmacy firm in Juba, South Sudan. Justice NJ Jamadar rejected bail pleas of chief operating officer (COO) of M/s First Wealth Solutions Gudipati Subramaniam and foreign national Ahmed Saleh Hasan alias Aldosky. They have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.

Prosecution claimed that M/s First Wealth Solutions was allegedly trying to smuggle the contraband abroad. The consignment was allegedly misdeclared as Tamol-X-225, a calcium carbonate tablet. Subramaniam had placed a purchase order with Andhra Pradesh-based medicine manufacturing company M/s Safe Formulation Pvt Ltd to procure Tramadol Hydrochloride with brand name,’Tamol-X’. He then forged documents and invoices, stating that the drug was supplied for export purpose only. Hasan, on behalf of his foreign clients, allegedly contacted Subramaniam to supply Tramadol. The tablets were used by ISIS and that such a large quantity seized had huge international ramifications, prosecution claimed.

Kavthankar’s advocates Sujay Kantawala and Karan Jain submitted that at times some amount came to be credited to Kavthankar’s account instead of the Galaxy’s account. That by itself, is not sufficient to establish his nexus with other accused, they argued.

While rejecting bail to Subramaniam and Hasan, the HC said, “Prima facie, there is adequate material to show that an attempt was made to export Tramadol sans authorisation envisaged by the NDPS Rules, 1985.” The court granted bail to Kavthankar saying, “In my considered view, the rigour contained in section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985, may not be attracted qua Kavthankar. The court is not informed that the applicant has antecedents. I am, therefore, persuaded to allow (his bail) application.”

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