Drug case: Death sentence for the first time

Chandigarh: In the first ever case of capital punishment in a drug crime, a special Narcotics court here has awarded death penalty to a person while sentencing an African national to 15-years of Rigorous Imprisonment (RI).

The court of Special Judge (Narcotic Drugs and Physchotropic Substances Act) Shalini Singh Nagpal awarded death sentence to one Paramjeet Singh for trafficking 10 kilograms of Heroin and supplying it to an African national Sestus Benson in 2007.

Till now the maximum punishment in drug crime has been RI and a heavy fine.

"Paramjeet was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on November 30, 2007 in Chandigarh's sector-39 as he was illegally delivering 10kg Heroin to Benson. What made his crime grave was that Paramjeet was out on parole granted by a Delhi Court in another drug trafficking case," NCB Special Public Prosecutor Kailash Chander said.

This is a first-ever case of capital punishment being awarded in a drugs trafficking case. Benson has been awarded an RI of 15 years and a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh by the court, Chander said.

NCB Zonal Director Rohit Katiyar confirmed the development to PTI and said the judgement in the case was historic and would act as a "deterrent in illegal drugs and crime cases".

"This is a historic judgement. The judgememnt will go a long way in curbing the menace of narcotics abuse in the country, especially amongst the youth," Katiyar said.

Paramjeet was earlier arrested by the agency in Delhi in 2005 and was granted parole by a Delhi Court and the Chandigarh court not only relied on this fact but also the NCB probe to deliver today's judgement under the Prevention of Illicit Traffick in Narcotic Drugs and Physchotropic Substances Act (PIT NDPS), Chander said.

Chander said the case stood the test of time as during the prosecution, Benson asked for re-testing of the 10kg contraband which was seized during the operation in 2007 by NCB.

"The Heroin was found to be 69 per cent pure after the convict asked for a re-test and the special court ordered for it," Chander said.