The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi, four months after she was arrested in a drugs racket case which allegedly involved several high profile names in the Sandalwood industry.
The court set aside the November 3 order of Karnataka High Court in which the 31-year-old actress was refused bail in the case filed under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. A bench of justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph delivered the bail order during a hearing held through video conferencing.
During Thursday’s hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Dwivedi, said the actress was in jail while three other co-accused are on bail. He said that Dwivedi was arrested in September last year, but no contraband was recovered from her.
Luthra asserted there are no evidence to support the allegation that Dwivedi was involved in the financing of the drugs network, besides the accusations of consumption of banned ecstasy drugs. Referring to various case laws, he said that bail could be granted to her.
Luthra also referred to the FIR and said the statement of one Ravi Shankar was relied upon and that there was alleged recovery of small quantities of contraband and was accused of financing the drugs. He said the high court rejected her bail while seizure memo showed that six menthol free cigarettes and few other objects were recovered from her.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the prosecuting agency, said that this is not a case of mere personal consumption, but she has been found organising these rave parties at various places and there she had supplied drugs. He said there has also been tempering of the evidence, with the urine sample being replaced with water.
The bench said at the highest it could be presumed the petitioner might have consumed the drugs and that the petitioner had also been arrested on conspiracy charges. The court further noted that till date no charge sheet has been filed in the case.
It said prima facie if at all any offence has been made out is the consumption under section 27 A entailing punishment of one year or six months imprisonment. It said bail should have been granted in the case and hence “we’ll grant her bail and set aside the High Court order.”
Dwivedi was arrested last September in the drugs case along with film actress Sanjjanaa Galrani and others. On November 3, the Karnataka High Court had declined to grant bail to Dwivedi and Galrani. Galrani, however, was granted bail by High Court on December 11.
(With inputs from agencies)