Bombay HC grants interim protection to director of transport company involved in Pune Gutka case

The Bombay High Court has granted interim preventive protection to the director of a transport company, one of whose trucks was found carrying gutka by Pune police. The claimant Arun Khot is the manager of the transport company and the seized truck belongs to his company.

Lawyers for the accused cross the articles applied in the case

Attorney Sana Khan appearing for Khot said the only section that is not releasable in the case is Section 328 of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 328 is for ‘Causing injury by means of poison, with intent to commit an offence; whoever administers or causes a person to take any poison or stupefying, intoxicating or unwholesome drug or anything else with intent to injure that person, or with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of an offense or to knowing that he is likely to cause harm, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine.

Khan pointed to various quotes from the Supreme Court and the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court to state that “in similar circumstances, it was held that Section 328 of the IPC could not be invoked as it there was no attempt to administer any intoxicating or stupefying substance by Khot with intent to commit an offence.”

She also pointed out that a judgment of the main seat of the High Court of Bombay in 2020, had held a contrary opinion but which is already challenged in the Supreme Court and in this case, on an interim basis, interim protection was granted to the petitioner in this case.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister YY Dabke sought time to consider and review the judgments on which Khan had relied.

Provisional protection granted

Judge CV Bhadang, while imposing certain conditions, asking Khot to appear before the police, said: “On the face of it, it appears that the learned single judge sitting on the bench of Aurangabad, found that Section 328 of the ICC may not apply in such a case. The contrary opinion taken by the Coordinate Bench in Mumbai is being appealed to the Supreme Court in which interim protection has been granted.” That said, provisional protection was granted.

Even the owner of the transport company has lodged an advance bond in the Bombay High Court, which is expected to be heard soon.

Pune police seize truck carrying gutka

Earlier in January, Hadapsar Police in Pune intercepted a truck carrying gutka worth Rs 46 lakh on the Pune-Solapur highway. Police also seized a truck worth Rs 25 lakh. Truck driver Samiulla Murtuza Hussain (51) from Mumbai was also arrested.

The truck, according to police, belonged to a transporter based in Bibvewadi and the police were looking for it.

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