Mumbai court rejects deportation plea of 8 Pakistani nationals arrested in drugs case

February 17, 2021 0 Comments

A plea by eight Pakistani nationals, arrested from a boat in 2015 allegedly with heroin, seeking to be deported to Karachi, has been rejected by a Mumbai court.

(Photo for representation)

A special court has rejected a deportation plea by eight Pakistani nationals who were caught in 2015 in a drug case off the Gujarat coast.

The eight accused had filed an application praying for their deportation from India to Karachi on the grounds that the Mumbai court has no territorial jurisdiction to try the case and that they should be tried in Pakistan in accordance with the law of their country.

The case

A case was registered against eight accused after they were arrested by the Coast Guard in 2015 for carrying heroine valued at Rs 6.96 crore. The prosecution relied on Google Maps to show the location of the area where the boat ‘AL-Yasir’ in which the accused were held.

The government pleader showed resolutions adopted by the United Nations Conference for the adoption of a convention for illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances to argue that the chargesheet against the accused is maintainable in law and trial can proceed further for decision in accordance with the law.

The accused told the court that the location was 157 nautical miles from Mithaport, the closest Indian Port to the boat’s location.

Thus, the point of interception of the boat in question was beyond the territorial limits of the jurisdiction of India, the accused submitted. The accused claimed that they were Pakistani nationals and their boat was registered in Pakistan.

The special public prosecutor, however, opposed the argument and stated that the area where the arrest took place falls under the exclusive economic zone.

Judge VV Vidwans concluded, “It will be premature to conclude at this stage on the basis of some statement made by a witness in his cross-examination that this court lacks territorial jurisdiction as the boat in question was apprehended beyond 12 nautical miles by the Indian Coast Guard. I am of the view that, considering seriousness of the alleged offences; the quantity of the narcotic drugs allegedly seized from the boat in question and that the aspect of national security is involved, it will be just and proper to give the prosecution reasonable and proper opportunity to prove the aspect of jurisdiction of court and its case on merits. The charge in the case has been already framed and trial has commenced. Therefore, trial can be expedited.”

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