Man accused of possessing gutkha acquitted in Thane

Thane: A Thane local court has acquitted a man arrested for allegedly possessing gutkha and other contraband due to lack of evidence against him.

District Judge N N Shrimangale acquitted the arrested accused, Surendra Rampalat Chaurasiya (37), a resident of Bhayander area in Thane tnwhile observing that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against him. The prosecution informed the court that the police and FDA officials had seized banned material like gutkha, pan masala and scented betelnuts of different brands valued at Rs 1,70,860, from Chaurasiya's residence during a raid on December 8, 2013.

The accused was arrested and tried for offences punishable under sections 328, 272, 273 and 188 of IPC as well as under relevant sections of Food Safety and Standard Rules. During the trial, it came to the notice of the court that the police and FDA officials destroyed the seized goods without any authority.

Later, the judge observed that the evidence of prosecution witness is not sufficient to prove that the goods were seized from possession of the accused. It is also clear from the evidence of investigating officer that the spot of incident is surrounded by residential premises of others. But, no neighbour was examined before the court by the prosecution to prove that the accused was in exclusive possession of the premises and the contraband was seized from there, he noted.

It is clear from the evidence of food officer that the material was destroyed without keeping its samples and the prosecution failed to prove that the seized material was injurious to public health, he observed.

Thus, considering all the evidence on record, the prosecution has miserably failed to prove that the accused was found in possession of contraband and that it was injurious to public health, the judge said in his recent order. "No charge is proved against the accused," he said while acquitting Chaurasiya in the case.

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