One accused dies while Chennai police drag filing of ganja case chargesheet for 3.5 years

Police had also arrested E Seenivasan alleging that the duo were found in possession of the contraband and were selling it in an auto.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: In yet another instance of the Chennai police messing up a ganja case investigation leading to an acquittal, a city trial court has now found that the police filed the chargesheet in a case three-and-a-half years after filing the FIR. By that time, one of the accused had already died.

On Saturday, the Principal Special Court under the Essential Commodities and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, acquitted S Manjula in a 1.3-kg ganja recovery case filed by Adambakkam police in August 2019. Police had also arrested E Seenivasan alleging that the duo were found in possession of the contraband and were selling it in an auto.

During the trial, the judge noted that the police filed the chargesheet before the court only on May 22, 2023, three-and-a-half years after the case was registered. There was no reason given for this inordinate delay, the court noted, adding that by the time the charges were framed, Seenivasan had already died and hence the charges against him abated.

The judge also found that the accused had been arrested at 9.30 pm, but the contraband was shown to be seized at 11 pm in the mahazar. Arresting a person before the seizure of the contraband created doubt if the property had been seized from the accused at the scene of the alleged crime, the judge said, adding that it was “improperly handled” by the prosecution.

During the trial, the judge also found holes in the prosecution’s version of the arrest; though the police at the crime scene had seized only loose ganja, his colleague before court, while deposing about the seizure, said that ganja was sold in “packets”. There was also an inconsistency about the number of people who were allegedly selling the ganja when police went to the scene of crime.

Based on this, the judge noted that police had miserably failed to prove that the accused Manjula was found to be illegally possessing the 1.3 kg of ganja for sale, as alleged by them and acquitted her.

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