MP: High Court Fines MP Police Rs 10 Lakh for Implicating a Youth in a False Drug Case
Madhya Pradesh High Court. Image Courtesy: PTI
Bhopal: Mohit Tiwari (26), a post-graduate in Master of Science and father of two toddlers, is trying to recuperate his shattered life. Belonging to a humble background, Tiwari walked free last Saturday after eight months of jail term on directions of the Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Hearing the bail petition, the Court found 'urea' (fertiliser) in the forensic report instead of MDMA' drug', which was seized by the Gwalior Police on September 9, 2022, from Tiwari and six others.
The police booked them under sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and sections 8/22 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985 after they were allegedly arrested with 720 grams of MDMA (drug) and a desi firearm.
A resident of Datia and former manager of an automobile showroom, for Tiwari, September 9, 2022, was an unforgettable day when Gwalior police arrested him and his 24-year-old friend Ramesh (name changed) from a petrol pump, located on the outskirt of Gwalior city, accusing them of being part of an inter-state gang which runs racket of MDMA drug – commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly.
According to the FIR lodged at Murar Police Station, the Gwalior Police detained the duo and five others, including a woman, for possessing drugs and a firearm on a tip-off. In a press briefing which took place later the day, then the Gwalior SP Amit Sanghi claimed to have nabbed a gang of seven drug dealers with 720 grams of MDMA and a desi firearm who have links with Uttar Pradesh drug gangs.
"I was heading to Gwalior with a friend when police in plain clothes detained us. They were beating us black and blue without explaining the charges or reason in the lock-up," Tiwari told NewsClick.
"We were thrashed when we tried to speak up. Four strangers were also locked up in the same cell with us who are accused in the same case."
The police informed the family a day after they were sent to the district jail.
"We were in jail but still unaware of our crimes. We only came to know of our crimes when our advocate told us that we were booked and branded as members of a major drug peddler gang which has links to the drug racket spread to Uttar Pradesh. It dropped like a bombshell on us."
After eight months of jail term, Tiwari got two months of parole for the birth of his second child.
Meanwhile, four of the accused who approached the Gwalior Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court to secure bail were denied. After the lower court rejected his bail plea, with dim hope, Tiwari's kin approached the Gwalior High Court for relief.
In the bail application, his counsel Sushil Goswami pleaded before the Court to take a decision on the basis of the Bhopal Central Forensic Science Laboratory report of the seized drug.
The Court analysed the forensic report of the substance and found that the samples of the material seized by the police were not MDMA but Urea, a chemical fertiliser.
A bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Agrawal on April 29, 2023, not only granted him bail over violation of the right of personal liberty as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution but also slapped a fine to the tune of Rs 10 lakh to the Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh for falsely implicating Tiwari and keeping him in confinement for eight months.
Tiwari's counsel Sushil Goswami said that the police got the forensic report in October last year but did not submit it with the chargesheet, which was filed in February 2023.
"The forensic report revealed the conspiracy behind the case," said advocate Amit Goswami, assistant of Tiwari's counsel Sushil Goswami to Newsclick.
When the counsel for the state objected to his bail plea, the Court asked, "When this court asked as to whether Urea comes under NDPS Act, then he fairly replied that Urea does not come under NDPS Act," the order said.
"We also explained to the Court that Sushil and his friend had been detained 20 km apart from five other accused according to the presented CCTV footage, but they were branded as members of the drug peddlers' gang. Nonetheless, five accused who were booked in the same FIR are strangers to our client," Sushil Goswami explained.
"Not just that, the Gwalior Police invoked the Arms Act against Sushil, but the firearm wasn't recovered from him," he added.
The Court, in an order on Friday, said that the DGP was "free to recover the aforesaid amount (of compensation) from the erring (police) officials" and also directed the police chief to "instruct its subordinate officers not to repeat such irregularity in future."
The Court further directed the state police chief to pay the compensation within two months and file a compliance report with the Court. According to sources, the police are planning to file a review petition or appeal in the Supreme Court.
The court didn't comment on the merits of the case and released the applicant on bail.
Tiwari, who belongs to a farmer's family, has paid a heavy price to secure the bail. He walked free, but the social stigma and alienation of his family will hound him for life.
He is pained that his younger brother had to quit education and all the hard-earned savings went astray.
"This is a corrupt system which neither checks the evidence before filing the FIR nor gives time to speak up. It puts an onus on the accused to present evidence of his innocence. Giving justice to the citizens is the duty of the state, but here, the cost of getting justice is too high to pay for a middle-class family."
He came out of jail two days ago; Tiwari is questing for a job as he lost his previous employment over the alleged false case. Playing with his toddler son, Tiwari still wonders why he was framed in a drug case when he had a clean police record.
Tiwari spent lakhs on securing bail, but six others are still lagging behind bars waiting for their release.
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