LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has denied bail to an accused in a drug trafficking case for the fifth time in a row, saying that the trial against him was in an advanced stage and directing the lower court to conduct the trial in the case within a period of four months.

This was the fifth petition for grant of bail, pending trial, to the petitioner in a criminal case arising from an FIR dated 07.08.2019, registered under Section 22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, at Police Station Mandi Gobindgarh, District Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab.

According to the prosecution, two persons including the petitioner were apprehended by the police with 1100 contraband opioid tablets — 800 such tablets were recovered from the petitioner and 300 from a co-accused.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the co-accused has been granted the concession of regular bail. Hence, on parity, the petitioner should also be granted regular bail.

The petitioner, while drawing the Court’s attention to the statement of Sub Inspector Balwinder Singh (Prosecution Witness 2), also stated that the recovery from the petitioner was only of 300 intoxicating tablets and not 800 intoxicating tablets.

However, the state’s counsel said that it is the consistent case of the prosecution that 800 intoxicating tablets were recovered from the petitioner, whereas 300 intoxicating tablets were recovered from the co-accused Harwinder Singh @ Guli.

Deciding the matter, the bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal stated that it is not in dispute that the prosecution has already recorded the depositions of three witnesses on its behalf and the case is now fixed for recording the statements of other three witnesses on 23.08.2021.

“Since the trial has already commenced and is at an advance stage, therefore, it would not be appropriate to consider the prayer for grant of bail to the petitioner. However, the learned trial court is requested to conclude the trial positively, within a period of 4 months,” said the bench.

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