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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Kashmir Singh vs Narcotics Control Bureau on 18 August 2006

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Delhi High Court
Kashmir Singh vs Narcotics Control Bureau on 18 August, 2006
Author: Badar Durrez Ahmed
Bench: Badar Durrez Ahmed
JUDGMENT

Badar Durrez Ahmed, J.

1. The learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that although an alleged recovery of 1 Kg. of heroin is said to have been made from the present petitioner and that the provisions of Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 would be attracted, yet this is a case in which the petitioner is entitled to bail because, according to him, there exist reasonable grounds that the petitioner would not be convicted and there is no likelihood of the petitioner committing such an offence if released on bail. His main plank of argument is that the two recovery witnesses namely Ravi and Charan Singh were stock witnesses used by the prosecution in several cases. He placed reliance on the order in Bail Application No. 1461/2005 passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court on 5.7.2005 wherein these very witnesses namely, Ravi and Charan Singh were cited as public (chance) witnesses in that case also. Paragraphs 2 and 10 of the said order read as under:

2. Charge has been framed. Trial is on. It has transpired during evidence that the two alleged independent public (chance) witnesses, Ravi and Charan Singh happened to be the witnesses of the NCB i.e. prosecuting agency in the present case, in other cases as well. It is not in dispute that Ravi is cited as a witness to the alleged recovery in three other cases, present one being the fourth and Charan Singh is cited as a witness in two other recoveries, present one being the third.

xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

10. It is highly unlikely that same two persons would be available as chance witnesses time and again to the NCB.

2. The learned Counsel submitted that in the said order dated 5.7.2005 the case pertained to a recovery said to have been made opposite Ashoka Hotel where these two witnesses namely Ravi and Charan Singh happened to be present. In the present case the recovery is said to have been made from ISBT where, again, the same two witnesses, namely Ravi and Charan Singh happened to be present. He submitted that as these witnesses are not related, there is no question of them being at the same place in two different cases both involving recovery of narcotics at two different places at entirely different points of time. He submitted that if the probability of such an event is calculated, it would be mind boggling.

3. The learned Counsel for the petitioner then referred to the bail order passed in respect of co-accused Sarvan Singh in the present case. That order is dated 21.7.2005. The observations of the learned Single Judge passing that order with regard to these two witnesses is as under:

4. On 5.7.2005, I had passed an order in Bail Application No. 1461/2005. I had noted therein that Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh, two chance witnesses, are being cited as chance witnesses in other cases as well. Four cases in which Ravi Kumar has been cited as a chance witness and three cases in which Charan Singh has been cited as a witness were noted.

5. It is strange that Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh, who stay in totally different places, happen to be chance witnesses at different places and that too simultaneously.

4. On the basis of these orders the learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the recovery of the said 1 Kg. of heroin becomes very doubtful. He also submitted that the petitioner has no criminal history and therefore, the question of him committing such an offence if released on bail does not arise. In his view, the petitioner is entitled to be released on bail even in terms of Section 37 of the NDPS Act.

5. The learned Counsel appearing on behalf of NCB submitted that if the said recovery witnesses are to be discarded even then the case is made out against the present petitioner. He submitted that in a similar situation, the Supreme Court had considered the question where independent witnesses of the recovery of contraband had not been examined and only police witnesses had been examined. The case before the Supreme Court was that of M. Prabhulal v. The Assistant Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence 2003 3 JCC 1331, wherein it was contended on behalf of the defense counsel that such non-examination of independent witnesses casts a doubt on the recovery. Repelling this argument, the Supreme Court observed on the facts of the case before it that the evidence of the police witnesses could not be doubted and, therefore, the recovery was not doubtful for want of non-examination of independent witnesses. The learned Counsel for the NCB also raised the plea that even if the testimonies of the recovery witnesses, namely Ravi and Charan Singh are discarded, the confession made by the present petitioner is sufficient to ensure his conviction. For this proposition also, he relied upon the said decision of the Supreme Court in the case of M. Prabhulal (supra) wherein in paragraph 5 it is indicated that if a confessional statement is voluntary then the same can be made the basis of a conviction. In the light of these observations, the learned Counsel for NCB contended that in the present case also, the petitioner has made a voluntary confession. He further submitted that the petitioner has not retracted that confession and, therefore, even on the basis of the confession the petitioner can be convicted.

6. The learned Counsel for the NCB next placed reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira 2004 [1] JCC 662 to demonstrate as to what is the scope of Sections 37 and 67 of the NDPS Act. Paragraph 7 of the said decision reads as under:

7. The limitations on granting of bail come in only when the question of granting bail arises on merits. Apart from the grant of opportunity to the public prosecutor, the other twin conditions which really have relevance so far the present accused-respondent is concerned, are (1) the satisfaction of the Court that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail. The conditions are cumulative and not alternative. The satisfaction contemplated regarding the accused being not guilty has to be based for reasonable grounds. The expression “reasonable grounds” means something more than prima facie grounds. It contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. The reasonable belief contemplated in the provision requires existence of such facts and circumstances as are sufficient in themselves to justify satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence. In the case at hand the High Court seems to have completely overlooked the underlying object of Section 37. It did not take note of the confessional statement recorded under Section 67 of the Act.

In view of these decisions, the learned Counsel for the NCB submitted that no case for bail had been made out and, therefore, this bail application ought to be rejected.

7. In rejoinder the learned Counsel for the petitioner referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Prem Chand (Paniwala) v. Union of India and Ors. 1981 SCC (Cri.) 239 to show as to how stock witnesses used by the police denigrate the entire system of administration of justice. He relied on the following passage contained in the said judgment:

The version of the petitioner is that once he yielded to the pressure of the police to give false testimony disclosing a rubberised conscience and unveracious readiness to forswear himself, there was escalation of demands upon him and he became a regular pedlar of perjury `on police service`. Indeed, counsel for the petitioner argued that his client was a `stock witness` because he had to keep the police in good humour and obliged them with tailored testimony in around 3,000 cases because the alternative was police wrath. We were flabbergasted at this bizarre confession but to lend credence to his assertion counsel produced a few hundred summonses where the petitioner was cited as a witness. Were he not omnipresent how could he testify in so many cases save by a versatile genius for loyal unveracity? For sure, the consternation of the community at this flood of perjury will shake its faith in the veracity of Police investigation and the validity of the judicial verdict. We have no doubt that the petitioner, who has given particulars of a large number of cases where he had been cited as witness, is speaking the truth even assuming that 3,000 cases may be an exaggeration. In Justice, Justices and Justicing and likewise in the Police and Policing, the peril to the judicial process is best left to imagination if professional perjurers like the self-confessed Paniwala are kept captive by the police, to be pressed into service for proving `cases’. Courts, trusting the police may act on apparently veracious testimony and sentence people into prison. The community, satisfied with such convictions, may well believe that all is well with law and order. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the systematic pollution of the judicial process and the consequent threat to human rights of innocent persons. We hope that the higher authorities in the Department who, apparently, are not aware of the nefarious goings-on at the lesser levels will immediately take measures to stamp out this unscrupulous menace.
8. The learned Counsel for the petitioner also placed reliance on a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ranjitsingh Brahmajeetsing Sharma v. State of Maharashtra and Anr. 2005 II AD (Cr.) S.C. 193. This decision of the Supreme Court is in respect of the Maharashtra Control for organized Crime Act, 1999. Section 21(4) of that Act is pari materia the provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act and the observations with regard to the scope and ambit of grant of bail under that provision has been clearly indicated by the Supreme Court as under:

47. We are furthermore of the opinion that the restrictions on the power of the Court to grant bail should not be pushed too far. If the Court, having regard to the materials brought on record, is satisfied that in all probability he may not be ultimately convicted, an order granting bail may be passed. The satisfaction of the Court as regards his likelihood of not committing an offence while on bail must be construed to mean an offence under the Act and not any offence whatsoever be it a minor or major offence. If such an expansive meaning is given, even likelihood of commission of an offence under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code may debar the Court from releasing the accused on bail. A statute, it is trite, should not be interpreted in such a manner as would lead to absurdity. What would further be necessary on the part of the Court is to see the culpability of the accused and his involvement in the commission of an organized crime either directly or indirectly. The Court at the time of considering the application for grant of bail shall consider the question from the angle as to whether he was possessed of the requisite means rea. Every little omission or commission, negligence or dereliction may not lead to a possibility of his having culpability in the matter which is not the sine qua non for attracting the provisions of MCOCA. A person in a given situation may not do that which he ought to have done. The Court may in a situation of this nature keep in mind the broad principles of law that some acts of omission and commission on the part of a public servant may attract disciplinary proceedings but may not attract a penal provision.
9. The learned Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that there is another aspect of the matter and that is that at the time of the alleged recovery the contraband was said to be of a light brown colour. However, after a period of one month when the sample was examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory the same has been shown as light brown coloured “lump”. This, itself, according to the learned Counsel for the petitioner, indicates that the sample tested was not the material allegedly recovered and, therefore, this further casts doubts on the recovery.

10. Considering the arguments advanced by the learned Counsel on both sides, the following aspects need examination:

1. What are the parameters for the grant of bail in a case falling under Section 37 of the NDPS Act?
2. What is the worth of evidence of `stock witnesses’?
3. Can a conviction under Section 21(c) of the NDPS Act be based solely on the confession of the accused before an officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau?
What are the parameters for the grant of bail in a case falling under Section 37 of the NDPS ACT?

11. Section 37 requires that any person accused of an offence under the NDPS Act, to which Section 37 applies, should not be released on bail during trial unless the mandatory conditions provided in Section 37, namely, (1) the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release; and (2) where the Public Prosecutor opposes the application:

(a) The Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence; and
(b) that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail, are satisfied.
This is also what has been explained by the Supreme Court in Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira (supra) and other cases including Union of India v. Ram Samujh and Anr. . Furthermore, as held in Mohd. Ramzan v. State (NCT of Delhi) 2005 (82) DRJ 435, it is the requirement of Section 37 that the Court considering an application for bail has to go into the question as to whether there exist or do not exist reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of such offence. Consequently, it becomes imperative that even at the stage of grant of bail, the Court has to go into the question of whether any reasonable grounds exist to indicate that the accused is not guilty of the offence on the basis of the available material before the Court.

12. As observed in Customs, New Delhi v. Ahmadalieva Nodira (supra), the satisfaction of the Court that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail are cumulative and not in the alternative. The expression `reasonable grounds’, according to the said Supreme Court decision, means something more than prima facie grounds, it contemplates substantial probable causes for believing that the accused is not guilty of the alleged offence.

13. However, as noted above, the Supreme Court in Ranjit Singh Brahmajeet Singh Sharma (supra), while considering the para materia provisions of Section 21(4) of MCOCA, held that the restrictions on the power of the Court to grant bail should not be pushed too far. It further held that if the Court, having regard to the materials brought on record, is satisfied that in all probability he may not be ultimately convicted, an order granting bail may be passed. Elucidating this, the Supreme Court observed:

The wording of Section 21(4), in our opinion, does not lead to the conclusion that the Court must arrive at a positive finding that the applicant for bail has not committed an offence under the Act.
The Supreme Court further held:
The duty of the Court at this stage is not to weigh the evidence meticulously but to arrive at a finding on the basis of broad probabilities.
As regards the second condition that the accused is not likely to commit an offence while on bail, the Supreme Court held that it must mean an offence under the Act and not any offence whatsoever be it a minor or major offence. The Supreme Court held:
…Similarly, the Court will be required to record a finding as to the probability of his committing a crime after grant of bail. However, such an offence in future must be an offence under the Act and not any other offence. Since it is difficult to predict the future conduct of an accused, the court must necessarily consider this aspect of the matter having regard to the antecedents of the accused, his propensities and the nature and manner in which he is alleged to have committed the offence.
Although, the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court was in respect of the provisions of Section 21(4) of MCOCA, they would apply with equal vigour to a case under Section 37 of the NDPS Act as the provisions are identical. This has so been applied by this Court in Wernli Monika Barbara v. State Bail Appln. 360/2005 decided on 23.5.2005 and Ram Narayan v. State 2005 VI AD (Delhi) 245.
These, therefore, are the parameters which require consideration whenever the Court is called upon to deal with an application for bail which attracts the provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act.
What is the worth of evidence of `stock witnesses’?
14. The answer may be given straightaway – nothing ! The reasons for this lie in the very concept of a `stock witness’ whom Krishna Iyer, J., aptly described in Prem Chand (Paniwala) (supra) as “a regular pedlar of perjury `on police service'”. It is a rarity for one person to be witness to a crime in one lifetime. But, where a person claims to be a chance witness to crimes at different places and different points of time, the improbability is writ large on the face of such a tall claim. And, as observed in Premchand (Paniwala) (supra) – “were he not omnipresent how could be testify in so many cases save by a versatile genius for loyal unveracity?”

15. The improbability is transformed into impossibility when two witnesses, unrelated to each other in any way, are alleged to be on the spot to witness recoveries of narcotics at different places at different points of time. This is exactly what the prosecution would have us believe in the context of the present case that witnesses – Ravi and Charan Singh were present on the spot (by chance) when the alleged recovery of contraband was being made from the petitioner at ISBT. As noted above, these very “witnesses” happened to be together opposite Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi when the recovery of narcotics was allegedly made in respect of another case which led to the passing of the order dated 5.7.2005 in Bail Application No. 1461/2005 by a learned Single Judge of this Court. The order, referred to above, indicates the Ravi was cited as a witness to alleged recoveries in three other cases and Charan Singh in two other cases. This would make the present case the fifth for Ravi and the fourth for Charan Singh.

16. The presence of these two witnesses has been indicated by the Investigating Officer, Mangal Dass (PW2) in his examination-in-chief as under:

I called two independent witnesses at the spot namely Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh. I told them about the information and search and requested them to remain present with us a panch witnesses, during the entire search proceedings and they both agreed to it.
In the complaint filed by the NCB it is alleged that both panch witnesses and the NCB officer moved towards the Peepal Tree and they saw a person standing there, who matched the description given in the secret information. It is further alleged that these witnesses signed on the search authorisation shown to the petitioner prior to his search. These witnesses also allegedly signed on the Section 50 notice whereupon the petitioner is also alleged to have signed, waiving his right of being searched in the presence of a Magistrate or a Gazetted Officer. It is further alleged that the search was conducted on the petitioner and the said contraband was recovered in the presence of the said witnesses. Samples were allegedly taken in their presence and slips with their signatures were placed on these samples and then sealed. The panchnama was allegedly prepared on the spot and the two witnesses allegedly signed all the pages of the panchnama. As per these allegations the prosecution maintains that these two witnesses – Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh – were independent witnesses who were available on the spot. The search and recovery of the alleged contraband was conducted in their presence. The samples were taken and placed in envelopes in their presence on the spot. The panchnama was also prepared on the spot in their presence and that they signed it then and there.
17. If these allegations alone are to be looked into then, clearly, the conclusion, even on the basis of overall probabilities, would be that there do not exist reasonable grounds for believing that the petitioner is not guilty of the offence. But, this impression is dispelled by the fact that the two panch witnesses were “stock witnesses” whom the NCB used time and again as “independent” witnesses of recoveries of contraband from different persons at different places and at different times. In these circumstances, the presence of these witnesses and, consequently, the recovery itself, becomes suspect. To put it differently, the evidence of these two witnesses would not be worth much, if at all. As a result, it is quite probable that no such recovery from the petitioner was made.

18. Before parting with the discussion on the question of “stock witnesses”, I would like to re-emphasize the warning sounded by the Supreme Court in Prem Chand (Paniwala) (supra), which apparently has gone largely unheeded by those to whom it was directed. The words used by the Supreme Court are:

Nevertheless, it is not too much to ask government to take effective measures to prevent police methods straying into vice. We hopefully remind the State about what Justice Brandeis once observed: (Olmstead v. U.S. 277 US 438 (1928) : 72 L Ed 244) “Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law ….To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution Against the pernicious doctrine this Court must resolutely set its face.” In the same American decision we have just mentioned Justice Holmes observed: “We have to choose, and for my part I think it a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx By this judgment what we mean is not to tell the police to fold up their hands and remain inactive when anti-social elements suddenly grow in wealth but to be activist and intelligent enough to track down those who hold the nation’s health, wealth, peace and security in jeopardy. The only insistence is that the means must also be as good as the ends.
Can a conviction under Section 21(c) of the NDPS Act be based solely on the confession of the accused before an officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau?
19. Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 stipulates that “[n]o confession made to a police officer, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.” But, a confession made to person who is not a `police officer’ is not always irrelevant. Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 provides that a confession made by an accused person is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of the confession appears to the Court to have been caused by any inducement, threat or promise, having reference to the charge against the accused person, proceeding from a person in authority and sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to give the accused person grounds, which would appear to him reasonable, for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him. In other words, generally speaking, involuntary confessions made to persons in authority are not relevant in criminal proceedings. This means that voluntary confessions made to persons who are not police officers are relevant. The policy behind Section 25 being that a confession before a police officer is deemed to be involuntary because of the obvious position of authority that he wields vis-a-vis an accused.

20. Under the NDPS Act, by virtue of the provisions of Section 67 thereof, any authorised officer (referred to in Section 42 of the NDPS and including officers of the NCB) may call for information, require the production or delivery of a document or thing or examine any person acquainted with facts and circumstances of the case. A statement of an accused can be recorded by such authorised officer under Section 67. The question as to whether, if a confession is recorded under Section 67, it would not be hit by the bar of Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 has been decided by the Supreme Court in Raj Kumar Karwal v. Union of India . The Supreme Court noted the power conferred by Section 53 of the NDPS on such authorised officers of the Department of Revenue Intelligence and held that they were not “police officers” inasmuch as they did not have the power to submit a police report or charge-sheet under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. As held in Badhu Joti Savant , one of the key powers exercised by a “police officer” is the power to submit a report or charge-sheet under Section 173 Cr.P.C. This power is not vested in the officers authorised under Section 53 of the NDPS Act. They cannot file a charge-sheet. On the contrary they merely file complaints. Keeping this distinction in mind the Supreme Court in Raj Kumar Karwal (supra) held as under:

In this connection our attention was drawn to the observations of this Court in Balbir Singh v. State of Haryana wherein it is emphasised that when drastic provisions are made by a statute the duty of care on the authorities investigating the crime under such law is greater and the investigation must not only be thorough but also of a very high order. We, therefore, agree that as Section 25, Evidence Act, engrafts a wholesome protection it must not be construed in a narrow and technical sense but must be understood in a broad and popular sense. But at the same time it cannot be construed in so wide a sense as to include persons on whom only some of the powers exercised by the police are conferred within the category of police officers. See State of Punjab v. Barkat Ram and Raja Jaiswal v. State of Bihar . This view has been reiterated in subsequent cases also….
xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx …We must, therefore, negative the contention that an officer appointed under Section 53 of the act, other than a police officer, is entitled to exercise `all’ the powers under Chapter XII of the Code, including the power to submit a report or charge-sheet under Section 173 of the Code. That being so, the case does not satisfy the ratio of Badku Joti Savant and subsequent decisions referred to earlier.
By this reasoning a voluntary confession made before an authorised officer of the NCB could also be received in evidence against the accused who made the confession.
21. This takes us to the discussion of the Supreme Court decision in M. Prabhulal (supra) which was relied upon by the learned Counsel for the NCB. In that case the appellants before the Supreme Court had been convicted by the Courts below primarily on the basis of their statements recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act as also on the basis of the recovery (except from the appellant No. 1). The Court observed that these statements were recorded by officers of the Department of Revenue Intelligence who were not police officers within the meaning of Section 25 of the Evidence Act, 1872. The confessional statements recorded by such officers were, therefore, held to be admissible in evidence. In that case, the Supreme Court, upon a consideration of the circumstance that no complaint of torture or harassment was made by the accused when they were produced before the Magistrate and that only at the stage of recording statements under Section 313 Cr PC a “vague stand about torture was taken”, repelled the argument that the confessional statements were not voluntary. The Supreme Court held:

The statements were voluntarily made and can, thus, be made the basis of appellant’s conviction.
22. So, the position in law is that a confessional statement made under Section 67 of the NDPS Act before an officer authorised under the Act, whether he belongs to the DRI or the NCB or some other department of the Central Government, would not be inadmissible on account of the fact that such an officer is not a `police officer’ within the contemplation of Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. However, such a confessional statement, though admissible in evidence, would have to be shown to be voluntarily made before it can be used as a basis of conviction under the NDPS Act. Of course, it could be made the sole basis of conviction only if its credibility is unimpeached and it is established beyond doubt that it was made voluntarily. If there is any taint with regard to its voluntary nature, corroboration by other credible evidence would be necessary.

23. Having considered the three legal issues which arose as a result of the arguments advanced by the learned Counsel, it is time, now, to examine whether the petitioner is entitled to bail. The prosecution seeks conviction of the petitioner, inter alia, on the basis of (1) the alleged confessional statement made by the petitioner; (2) evidence of Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh, the two alleged “independent” recovery witnesses; (3) evidence of the officers of the NCB with regard to the conspiracy as well as the recovery from the petitioner. Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh, have, prima facie been held to be “stock witnesses”. The circumstances indicated above show that no credence can be attached to their evidence as their presence is suspect and doubtful. But, recovery could still be established in trial if the evidence of the officers of the NCB is credible and if it can be shown that the confessional statement made by the petitioner was voluntary. On behalf of the petitioner it was contended that though the petitioner did not expressly retract his confessional statement at the first available opportunity, he did submit an application on 25.11.2003 spelling out clearly that he had been falsely implicated. The application allegedly also contains a narrative of the “true” facts and circumstances of how the petitioner was roped in this case. This, however, is a matter which requires to be established on evidence.

24. It was also contended on behalf of the petitioner that there was grave doubt with regard to the content of the alleged contraband recovered. As per the prosecution the substance recovered was a light brown powder. However, the sample received at the laboratory was in the form of light-brown coloured lump. Moreover, the sample, when allegedly taken was said to weigh 5 gms. But, at the laboratory it was found to weigh 4.6 gm.

25. Considering all these factors I am of the view that in all probability the petitioner may not be ultimately convicted. This is so because on the materials on record there is a cloud with regard to the recovery itself. Firstly, the so-called independent witnesses are not, in all probability, “independent” chance witnesses but, “stock witnesses” and, therefore, no credence can be attached to their evidence. Secondly, the confession though allegedly voluntary will have to be established in trial particularly as the petitioner has come up with an entirely different version. Thirdly, the use of “stock witnesses” by the NCB puts a taint on their entire case. Fourthly, the description of the sample allegedly taken as well as its weight differs from the sample received at the laboratory for testing. This also creates a serious doubt as to the content of the alleged contraband recovered from the petitioner. Fifthly, the co-accused Sarvan Singh and Munir have already been released on bail on the very ground of the two alleged “independent” witnesses being “stock witnesses”. They, too, had given alleged confessional statements and though no recovery was alleged to have been made from them, they were granted bail on, inter alia, the ground that the said Ravi Kumar and Charan Singh were stock witnesses being used time and again by NCB.

26. As regards the question of the likelihood of the petitioner committing such an offence if released on bail, I find that the prosecution did not dispute that the petitioner is not involved in any other case under the NDPS Act. In fact, the learned Counsel for the petitioner had stated that the petitioner is not involved in any other criminal case. Therefore, it does not appear that the petitioner is likely to commit any offence while on bail. The twin conditions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act having been satisfied, the petitioner is entitled to be released on bail.

27. The petitioner is directed to be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 50,000/- with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Trial Court.

28. It is made clear that the foregoing discussion of the case and the views expressed are only based on broad probabilities and are tentative in nature and only for the purpose of the exercise that has necessarily to be undertaken while considering an application for bail under Section 37 of the NDPS Act. These views shall not have any bearing on the merits of the case and the Trial Court is free to decide the case on the basis of evidence adduced at the trial without being prejudiced, in any manner, by these views.

This application stands disposed of.