5 set free in ganja case
Cuttack: Orissa High Court has acquitted five alleged ganja transporters who were sentenced to undergo 20 years imprisonment and were also slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh each some six years ago.
The high court acquitted them on Monday citing "absence of clinching evidence".
The single-judge bench of Justice S.K. Sahoo said: "In view of the glaring inconsistencies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses, absence of clinching evidence, absence of any cogent materials that the seized articles along with sample packets were kept in safe custody till its production in the court, I am of the view that it would be very risky to uphold the impugned judgment and order of conviction."
A case was registered at Jarada police station in Ganjam district after seizure of nearly 600kg of Ganja in 66 polythene packets from three four-wheelers at Patrapur bus stand on September 6, 2009.
In the process, Ramakrushna Sahu, Trilochan Sahu, Subash Mahapatra, Firoz Alli Khan and Kailash Chandra Panda, who were in the vehicle, were arrested and booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
The Court of the Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Ganjam, convicted all five for transporting ganja in the vehicles and sentenced them to imprisonment for 20 years and while also imposing on each of them a fine of Rs 2 lakh on January 9, 2012. All five had filed appeal petitions for quashing of their conviction orders the same year.