The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a foreign national found in possession of 50 cocaine capsules, which he had swallowed and concealed in his stomach, noting he has been in custody for the past more than six years.
The high court noted the trial in the drugs case is yet to be concluded and asked the lower court to expeditiously record the evidence of the remaining witnesses and conclude the trial within six months.
While granting bail to Soleto Justniano Fernando Tito, a citizen of Bolivia, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma directed the accused to deposit his passport with the trial court and not to leave the country.
“The trial court shall ensure that the certificate of assurance from the High Commission of Bolivia duly verified is placed on record that the applicant shall not leave the country. The applicant shall not leave NCT of Delhi, except with the prior permission of the trial court,” the high court said.
It referred to a judgment passed by the Supreme Court in which the top court had reiterated that bar under Section 37 of NDPS Act would not come in the way of grant of bail to undertrials in cases of prolonged incarceration.
“Therefore, considering the duration of custody of more than 6 years and the fact that trial has not yet been concluded, this Court is inclined to grant regular bail to the present accused/applicant on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of trial court ,” the high court said.
It noted that the punishment prescribed under the provisions, for which Tito has been accused of, is rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but may extend to 20 years.
According to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the accused was apprehended at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here in May 2017, and 50 capsules containing cocaine were recovered from his possession, which he had swallowed and concealed inside his stomach.
It said the contraband which had been seized by the investigating agency was 500 grams of cocaine, which is a commercial quantity.
The capsules were recovered from the man through medical help at Safdarjung Hospital.
The prosecution has claimed the man disclosed that the contraband was given to him by his cousin to deliver in India and that he had initially swallowed 80 capsules but in the middle of the journey, he had vomited 30 capsules at Sao Paulo Airport, Brazil.
Tito sought bail on the ground that he was arrested on May 16, 2017 and has been in judicial custody since then.
He said he was not pressing the bail plea on merits but only on the ground that since he has been in judicial custody for more than six years, he was entitled to bail.
The NCB opposed the bail plea saying it was a case of recovery of commercial quantity of the contraband drug and the chances of absconding cannot be ruled out as the accused is a foreign national.