Mumbai: A special court here has rejected the deportation plea of eight Pakistani nationals. The Pakistani nationals were nabbed by the Indian Coast Guard off Gujarat coast with a boat allegedly carrying over 200kg of heroin in 2015.
The accused are facing trial under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The Pakistani nationals sought deportation from India to Karachi. The plea said that the court had no territorial jurisdiction to try the case. While the plea was rejected Monday, the detailed order was made available Tuesday.
The accused had been apprehended with 232 kg of heroin worth Rs 6.96 crore by the Coast Guard. They were later handed over to Yellowgate police station in south Mumbai.
The petitioners’ lawyer had argued the accused were apprehended from international waters. He further submitted according to the testimony of a prosecution witness that the said boat was found 157 nautical miles away from Mitha Port (in Gujarat), which is closest Indian port from the said location. Thus, the point of interception of the boat was beyond the territorial limits of the jurisdiction of India, he stated.
However, the prosecution strongly opposed the deportation plea. The lawyer said that the territorial waters of India continued up to continental shelf, exclusive economic zone and other as per the Maritime Act 1976.
As per a provision of the Act, there is an Exclusive Economic Zone of India, which is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial waters, and limit of such zone is 200 nautical miles. He further argued that there is a resolution adopted by the United Nations Conference for adoption of a convention against illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
“Article 4 (b) (iii) of the said Resolution clearly mentions that, the offence committed outside its territory with a view to the commission of any offence within its territory shall be covered,” he said.
Special judge VV Vidhwans after considering submissions of both the sides rejected the plea, terming it as ‘premature’ at this stage.