The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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6 years in prison for the not-guilty

Three decades ago, fate snatched his parents and ruined his future. This time, it is Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) that has shattered the remains of his dreams by detaining him behind bars for six long years.

Kajol Roy, a physiotherapist, had been arrested by the NCB for his alleged involvement in drug peddling in 1997. Last Wednesday, almost a full six years later, he was found not guilty and awarded an unconditional release by the special court under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act at Barasat.

Roy is now free, but after six years spent in prison, he has nowhere to go. “Everything is finished,” said Roy at Dum Dum Central Jail on Saturday, tears rolling down his cheeks.

Roy’s life took a tragic turn 30 years ago when he lost his parents. “I was just a year-and-a-half then,” he said, recalling his childhood in Midnapore.

A local doctor provided him shelter. “I grew up and studied in the doctor’s house. He trained me in physiotherapy. Five years ago, I shifted here and started working in the city and its adjoining areas,” Roy said.

Just when things seemed to look up for Roy, there was another another twist in the tale. Roy came in touch with a tailor, Subodh Biswas, at Banamalipur in Barasat. “Once Biswas was in trouble and I loaned him Rs 4,000. But even after six months, he did not return the money,” said Roy.

On October 10, 1997, Roy went to Biswas’ house and asked for the money. “In response, he gave me a packet to deliver to a client who, he said, was waiting in front of a hotel near the airport. The client would give me Rs 3,000. I agreed because I thought that was the only way to recover my money. I had no idea what the packet contained,” recounted Roy.

He went to the appointed spot and handed over the packet to Idris Ali. “Ali kept me waiting on the road, saying he would give me the money soon. Suddenly, NCB officials surrounded the area and picked me up,” he said. Kajol was booked under abetment and criminal conspiracy charges.

The case dragged for the next six years, with Roy being shifted back and forth from lock-up cell to courtroom. The NCB had booked him under a non-bailable section of the narcotics act.

While passing his verdict on Wednesday, judge Samya Sett said: “Roy never stated in his confessional statement that he knew that the powder is heroin and is a contraband narcotic substance. There is no evidence of abetment and criminal conspiracy.” Idris was sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 1 lakh.

Even after his release, Roy has been staying on on the Barasat court premises. “His release order reached the jail on Wednesday evening. But he did not leave since he had nowhere to go,” said Nimai Ray, his advocate. “He is living on money donated by some lawyers.”

“We had booked him for conspiracy in a drug case,” said N.C. Patra, joint director, NCB. “But the court in its wisdom has decided there is no case against the man. So the matter rests there.”

Meanwhile, a man has been sentenced to a life of misery.

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