Bombay HC Rejects Bail Plea Of Two Booked For Smuggling 10.5 Lakh Tramadol Tablets, Grants Relief To Courier Manager

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of two accused booked by Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Mumbai Customs Department for allegedly smuggling 21 packages containing 10.5 lakh Tramadol capsules/tablets weighing 720 kg in February last year.

However, the court granted bail to the courier manager, noting that whether he was privy to the alleged offences prima facie appeared to be debatable.

Tramadol is a psychotropic substance and painkiller extensively abused world over by addicts. It was banned in India in April 2018.

The CIU, based on specific intelligence, had intercepted a consignment on February 27 last year and seized around 10 lakh Tramadol tablets worth approximately Rs 21 crore before it could be shipped to a pharmacy firm in JUBA, South Sudan.

A single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar passed the order on bail pleas by Gudipati Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of accused firm, foreign national Ahmed Saleh Hasan alias Aldosky and courier manager Ravindra Rajaram Kavthankar who have been booked for offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.

As per prosecution, the accused firm M/s First Wealth Solutions was allegedly trying to smuggle the contraband abroad. The consignment was allegedly wrongly declared as Tamol-X-225, a calcium carbonate tablet. The consignment was seized and samples were sent to the CRCL lab and the test was positive for Tramadol, a psychotropic substance.

The prosecution claimed that Gudipati had placed a purchase order with M/s Safe Formulation Pvt. Ltd, a medicine manufacturing company based in Andhra Pradesh, to procure Tramadol Hydrochloride with brand name,’Tamol-X’. He allegedly forged documents and invoices under which the said drug was supplied for export purpose only, to change the description from Tramadol Hydrochloride to Calcium Carbonate.

Ahmed Saleh Hasan had allegedly placed orders for supply of Tramadol on behalf of his foreign clients with Gudipati. The prosecution further alleged that Kavthankar also actively conspired with other co-accused and was instrumental in transportation of contraband for illegal export.

Advocate Sujay Kantawala for Ravindra argued that some amount that came to be credited to his account by itself was not sufficient to establish a nexus between him and the other accused. Therefore, they deserved to be released on bail after being in custody for over a year.

“Prima facie there is adequate material to show that an attempt was made to export Tramadol, a psychotropic substance, sans authorisation envisaged by the NDPS Rules, 1985,” the bench noted while rejecting bail to Gudipati and Ahmed.

“Whether Ravindra was privy to the alleged offences prima facie appears debatable. In my considered view, the rigour contained in Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985 may not be attracted qua Ravindra. The court is not informed that the applicant Ravindra has antecedents. I am, therefore, persuaded to allow the application of Ravindra,” the bench held and granted bail to him.

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