Mumbai: The special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court has acquitted two men booked for possession of 700gm heroin owing to several discrepancies in sampling of the contraband. At the time of collection, the samples were found to be of heroin but the test results showed them to be of drug alprazolam, a potent tranquilliser. The court said the possibility of tampering of contraband cannot be ruled out.
As per the case registered with the Sewri police, on June 19, 2018, a patrol team chased down Hamdul Khudabaksh, 52, and Safikul Ali, 42, and recovered a brown powder. On preliminary tests, the powder was found to weigh 404gm and the police drew samples of 2gm from each person. During the trial, defence lawyer Munira Palanpurwala for Khudabaksh contended possible tampering as the final report showed the substance was alprazolam. She also argued that the date of the FIR is 10 days prior to the date of commission of offence. Meanwhile, advocate Anil Lala for Ali pointed out lack of evidence about safe custody of seized articles after the arrest.
The court noted that the case suffered from several lapses affecting its credibility. “The failure to keep seized contraband in safe custody until it was sent to the forensic lab affects reliability of the prosecution’s case and provides an opportunity of tampering with samples. Together with the chemical analyser report and the fact that 5gm should have been drawn as samples and not 2gm vitiates the very process,” the court observed.