The high court has granted Soleto Justniano Fernando Tito bail.
A foreign national who was caught with 50 cocaine capsules in his stomach has been granted bail after spending more than six years in jail. The Delhi High Court noted that the drug case trial is still ongoing, and it asked the lower court to expedite the proceedings and conclude the trial within six months. The drug mule, who is a citizen of Bolivia, was arrested in 2016 after he was found to be carrying cocaine capsules in his stomach. He was initially denied bail, but the High Court granted it on July 31, 2023, after considering the fact that he had been in custody for a long time and that the trial was still ongoing.
Soleto Justniano Fernando Tito, a Bolivian national, was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on May 24, 2017. He was found to be carrying 50 cocaine capsules, which were concealed in his stomach. The cocaine capsules weighed a total of 500 grams, which is considered to be a commercial quantity.
Tito was able to pass the cocaine capsules through medical assistance at Safdarjung Hospital. The prosecution claims that the man told them that his cousin had given him the drugs to deliver in India and that he had originally swallowed 80 capsules. However, the drug mule vomited 30 capsules at Sao Paulo Airport in Brazil.
The Delhi High Court granted bail on July 31, 2023, and ordered Tito to deposit his passport with the trial court and not to leave the country without permission. The High Court also asked the lower court to expedite and conclude the trial within six months. The court ruled, “The trial court shall ensure that the certificate of assurance from the High Commission of Bolivia duly verified is placed on record that the applicant shall not leave the country. The applicant shall not leave NCT of Delhi, except with the prior permission of the trial court.”
It referred to a judgment passed by the Supreme Court in which it had been reiterated that the bar under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) would not come in the way of grant of bail to undertrials in cases of prolonged incarceration.
Tito requested bail, arguing that he had been in judicial custody since his arrest on May 16, 2017. The drug mule stated that he was not pressing his bail plea on the merits but only on the basis that he had been in judicial custody for more than six years and was therefore entitled to it.
As per the high court, “Therefore, considering the duration of custody of more than 6 years and the fact that trial has not yet been concluded, this Court is inclined to grant regular bail to the present accused/applicant on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of trial court…”
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) opposed the bail plea, arguing that it was a case involving the recovery of a commercial quantity of the contraband drug and that the accused, being a foreign national, could abscond.
The incident is a reminder of the dangers of drug smuggling. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can have serious health consequences. Smugglers who transport cocaine often use dangerous methods, such as swallowing capsules or hiding the drug in their luggage. These methods can be life-threatening, and they can also lead to serious criminal charges.