Drug haul case: NCB moves HC against NDPS order to re-weigh drug recovered from ‘peddler’

The alleged peddler, Anuj Keshwani, was booked by the central agency following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput last year.

THE NARCOTICS Control Bureau (NCB) has moved the Bombay High Court, challenging an order of the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court that directed re-weighing of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) drug samples, recovered from an alleged drug peddler.

The alleged peddler, Anuj Keshwani, was booked by the central agency following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput last year.

A single-judge bench of Justice A S Gadkari on Monday was hearing the NCB’s plea. Advocate Shreeram Shirsat for the NCB challenged the April 30 order of the special NDPS court.

The trial court had directed the central agency to send samples to the forensic science laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to assess the drug’s weight without blot paper and also sought to know whether the weight of the recovered LSD included the weight of paper.

The NCB had submitted that as per the chemical analyser’s (CA) report. In the case, total 585 grams of charas, 270.12 grams of ganja, 3.6 grams of THC and 0.62 grams of LSD were recovered and seized as per the panchanama dated September 6, 2020.

Keshwani’s lawyers had submitted that 0.62 grams included the weight of blot paper, along with LSD drops. However, the report was silent about the weight of 31 blot papers. As per the NDPS Act, 1985, commercial quantity for LSD is 0.1 grams.

Advocate Taraq Sayed and Gayatri Gokhale, representing Keshwani, submitted that pending appeal, re-weighing of drugs, as per the special court’s directions would not cause any prejudice to the NCB. The lawyers added that whether such a report by the FSL on re-weighing of contraband can be considered or not will be subject to the outcome of the appeal.

The NCB, through its appeal, sought the HC to quash and set aside the special court’s order and the pending hearing of its appeal. The central agency also sought a stay on the direction issued to it.

The NCB sought the weight of the paper to be considered while ascertaining whether the LSD’s quantity was a commercial amount. It said the term “narcotics” included “mixtures and preparations”, as per the law.

It said the most common form of LSD available on streets is “drop of LSD solution dried onto a piece of blotting paper or gelatinous sheet” and therefore, “street weight” of the drug should also be considered than just the weight of the “active component”.

The HC posted the further hearing to June 9.

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