Court pulls up Mumbai Police for not following NDPS provisions in Pak narcotics boat case

Mumbai: A special court on Tuesday pulled up Mumbai Police for not following the mandatory provisions of NDPS Act in connection with the arrest of eight Pakistani nationals who were apprehended by the Coast Guard off Gujarat coast last month.

"Have you complied with the provisions of section 50 (conditions under which search of persons shall be conducted) of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act?" special NDPS Judge G A Sanap told the police.

 Court pulls up Mumbai Police for not following NDPS provisions in Pak narcotics boat case

Representational image. Reuters

A boat carrying 232 kgs of narcotics, whose market value is pegged at Rs 600 crore, was seized on April 20 and eight Pakistani crew on its board were arrested in a joint intelligence-based operation by Indian Navy and Coast Guard from international waters off Gujarat coast.

The case was later transferred the Yellow Gate police in Mumbai.

Seeking the remand of the accused, the police had told the court that they wanted extension of the custody of the accused to get details regarding the intended recipient of the drugs and also to investigate the role of three persons named by the accused during the interrogation.

Terming the investigations "faulty", the Judge said that when the court asked about the possession of the recovered boats and the satellite phone, the investigation officer said that it was with the Customs Department.

"How can you investigate without boats and phones (in your custody)? How will you cross check the call details"? the Judge said.

The court then extended the police custody of all the accused till May 8.

Meanwhile, an advocate told the court that even during the remand stage, the accused have to be provided legal aid.

"In view of the Supreme Court ruling, an advocate has to be provided to an accused," advocate Farhana Shah told the court, at which the court asked her to appear for the accused.

The police have registered a case against the accused under Indian Penal Code (IPC), NDPS Act and Indian Maritime Act.

For the crimes committed in international waters, there are only two police stations in the country where the crime can be registered. All the cases reported in the international water in the west coast goes to the Yellow Gate police station in Mumbai, while for the east coast it is located in Kolkata.

Multiple agencies, including the intelligence, Navy, Narcotics Control Bureau and Coast Guard have interrogated the crew to unravel the facilitators running the smuggling trade.

The operation was launched on April 18 after receiving intelligence inputs and was conducted in close coordination of the Western Command of Navy, along with the north-west regional headquarters of the Coast Guard.

PTI

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Updated Date: May 05, 2015 22:24:54 IST