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HC acquits former Gujarat MLA
February 26, 2005 21:00 IST
The Kerala high court on Friday acquitted former Gujarat legislator Bhav Singh Rathod, who was in jail for trying to export 1,165 kg of hashish to the United States from Kochi port in 1991.
In 1998, the Ernakulam additional sessions court had fined Rathod Rs 2 lakh and sentenced him to 20 years' rigorous imprisonment under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985. He was also sent to jail for three years under the Customs Act.
Setting aside the sentence, Justice J M James held that there was no legal evidence against him.
The charges against Rathod, the fourth accused in the case, were on the basis of statements from co-accused and two witnesses, the court held.
The judgment was delivered on a writ appeal by Rathod -- who is right now in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati Jail -- challenging the sentence.
Rathod, who had surrendered in 1996 in a court in Kochi, had served a part of his sentence at the Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail before being shifted to Gujarat in 1999.
Custom officials at the Kochi port had caught the hashish consignment, which was being transported from Gujarat in two of Rathod's trucks. Of the seven accused, three are absconding. One of the four held is facing trial.
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