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Friday June 14, 2024

Bail plea of man in drug case dismissed

By Jamal Khurshid
May 20, 2024
The Sindh High Court building facade can be seen in this file image. — SHC website/File
The Sindh High Court building facade can be seen in this file image. — SHC website/File

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has dismissed the bail application of a man who was arrested in a drug smuggling case. Aamir Ali Khan and others were arrested by the Customs for smuggling 411kg of methamphetamine and 100kg of cocaine under the guise of exporting onions to Malaysia.

The applicant’s counsel said his client was a forwarding agent who had nothing to do with the contraband being smuggled. He said that the recovery was made in Malaysia, and that there was no independent witness to the incident.

He also said that co-accused Taha Hussain had already been granted bail by the trial court, while his client had been in custody for six months, so he was entitled to be released on bail on point of further inquiry.

The assistant attorney general opposed the release of the applicant on bail by contending that the applicant is vicariously liable for the commission of the incident, and the offence allegedly committed by him has earned a bad name for the country.

After hearing the arguments of the counsels, a single SHC bench headed by Justice Irshad Ali Shah said the applicant is admittedly a clearing/forwarding agent.

It was he who forwarded the consignment destined for Malaysia that contained a huge quantity of narcotics under the deception that it was onions, and it was recovered in Malaysia, added the judge.

The court said that such an act earned a bad name for the country, adding that the applicant had failed to discharge his obligation by ensuring that no narcotics were lying in the consignment to be forwarded by him, which constitutes an act of vicarious liability on his part.

The bench said that although there was no independent witness to the incident, the Customs officials cannot be disbelieved by the court at this stage because they have no ill-will or mala fide intention to falsely implicate the applicant in this case.

The court said that the custody of the applicant for a few months is not enough to make him entitled to be released on bail in a case like the present one, which entails the death penalty and/or imprisonment for life with a fine.

The bench said that the case of the applicant is distinguishable from that of the co-accused because he was initially made a witness and then an accused.

The court said that deeper appreciation of the facts and circumstances even otherwise is not permissible at the bail stage, and there appear reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is guilty of the offence with which he is charged.

Thus, said the bench, no case for his release on bail on point of further inquiry is made out. The judge said that the case law which is relied upon by the applicant’s counsel is on distinguishable facts and circumstances, and then he dismissed the bail application.