April 11: A couple from Bihar, who were caught with ganja in 2010, was sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment today.
The district and sessions judge, Kamrup, H.K. Sarma, convicted Ramlal Shah and his wife Sayal under relevant provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and awarded them 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for peddling ganja.
The trial court also ordered them to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each and in case they are unable to do so, they will have to undergo imprisonment for two more years.
The couple, who hail from Mithapur in Patna in Bihar, were arrested by sleuths from the narcotics cell of CID with 24.5 kg ganja from railway gate number 6 near New Guwahati railway station here around 12.30pm on November 2010.
They were arrested by the CID team based on specific information soon after they alighted at the railway station.
They were supposed to board another passenger train to Bihar in the evening.
According to CID, the contraband was found packed in three rexin bags which were later seized from them. Subsequently, a case was registered against them under NDPS Act at CID police station.
A CID source said during interrogation, the accused persons had revealed that they had brought the consignment to the city from Dimapur in Nagaland on Kamrup Express.
The couple used to procure Manipuri ganja from Dimapur-based smugglers and carry the contraband to Bihar by train,” a CID official said.
According to the source, Manipuri ganja has a huge demand in central Indian states and the railway has been a favourite mode of transport for smugglers active in the region. The ganja comes from Manipur to Dimapur from where couriers take the consignments out by train via Guwahati.
The law enforcement agencies such as CID, Government Railway Police, Railway Protection Force and others have stepped up vigil on trains and at railway stations to check ganja smuggling.
He said the arrest like this one was the result of increased surveillance at Guwahati railway station.
On many occasions, ganja was found in bags abandoned in trains and platforms.
“The stringent screening of baggage may be one of the reasons why the smugglers could not take the bags out,” the source said.