KOCHI: After being in jail for five years as a remand prisoner, a Filipino woman has been acquitted in a drug trafficking case by a court here. The development on the backs of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) failing to prove that the trolley bag from which 4.8kg of cocaine was seized belonged to her.
The woman, identified as Jhonna De Torres Biag of San Pedro Laguna, Philippines, was acquitted by the Additional Sessions Court Judge Mohandas P K on January 23. As per the case details, she was arrested from Cochin airport on January 1, 2018 based on a tip-off that a lady passenger by name Jhonna Biag was arriving from Muscat via a Oman Airways flight and was suspected to carry a substantial quantity of cocaine concealed in her baggage.
Based on this information, a NCB team conducted a search of her check-in baggage and found 4.8kg of cocaine in two packets. However, the woman denied the charges and contended that she was innocent of the offence. She maintained that she was visiting India as part of her business of exporting precious stones from her native country. She also stated that the trolley bags allegedly seized by the NCB do not belong to her.
The NCB stated that Biag was arrested when she was in possession of the two trolley bags after taking it from the belt area of the airport. The contraband was concealed in one of the trolley bags. However, the court observed that there is no clear and reliable evidence to show that the trolley bag from which the contraband was seized belonged to the accused.
“So, even if it is found that the same contained cocaine, the accused cannot be said to be in concious possession of the same,” the court said, adding that there was no proper sampling of the evidence and there was inordinate delay in producing the property before it.
“Though the chemical report show that the sample contained cocaine, it cannot be said that the articles seized is cocaine. For all these reasons, it can be seen that the prosecution has not succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was found in possession of cocaine or that she imported the same to India as alleged. The accused in this case is entitled to benefit of doubt. With the available materials on record it is not possible to find that the accused committed the offence charged against her. She is entitled to be acquitted of the charge,” the court added.