Five arrested in drugs case walk free as prosecution goofs up

Inconsistent witnesses and goof-ups on part of the prosecution has led to the acquittals of five persons charged with trying to smuggle charas into the city. The defence exposed loopholes in the prosecution's case regarding the location of a key panch witness, the dates of arrest of the five accused and the vehicle they allegedly used in the commission of the crime.

On May 21, 2010, acting on an intelligence input, the Kandivali unit of the Mumbai Police's Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) stopped Ibrahim Ismail Jahangir, Mohammad Madarsa Mohammad Shah and Alam Shaikh from entering the city. The trio was arrested near the Dahisar Telephone Exchange. They were allegedly carrying 33 kg charas from Kashmir.

The panch witness, who was supposedly present at the time of their arrest, claimed that the arrest was made at 9.30 am. The defence pointed out that he was at the Cuffe Parade Unit of the ANC around the same time.

A similar mistake was pointed out by the defence with regard to the vehicle allegedly used by the accused. "The police claimed that a particular car was used by the accused. However, a day before the incident, the same car was produced before another court in another case," said defence advocate Shekhar Bhandari.

While three were arrested on the spot, two others — Ramzan Shaikh and Satish Padave — were arrested subsequently. "A witness claimed that all were arrested at the spot," Bhandari said.

The prosecution's claims that the three were habitual offenders, carrying huge consignments to be sold in Mumbai.

Accepting the defence's claims, special NDPS Judge M Y Mankar on Monday acquitted the five for want of evidence.

Prosecution said

Panch witness present at the spot when arrest was made.

The police claimed that a particular car was used by the accused.

... contd.

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