Sensational ganja case: Serina and others acquitted
Madurai, June 5 (UNI) A Special Court dealing with narcotic cases today acquitted Serina Bhanu, her mother and car driver in the sensational 'ganja' case registered against them in July 2003.
Delivering the judgement in a packed court hall, Special Judge M Manickam acquitted all three, giving them the benefit of doubt as the prosecution had failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.
Holding that the charges under Section 20 B (2) read with 8C of the NDPS Act, pertaining to possession of contraband, had not been proved with adequate proof and documentary evidence, the judge granted the benefit of doubt to the accused and acquitted them.
The case pertained to the seizure of 35 kg ganja, Rs 1.40 crore cash, 21.5 sovereigns of gold jewellery and a car from Serina's Anna Nagar residence in the city during a pre-dawn swoop. Karupayoorani police registered a case against Serina, her mother, Remija, and the driver, M Satheesh.
All three, lodged in prison, had come out on bail.
Serina, a young girl from a middle class background, started leading a flamboyant and ostentatious life after an affair with an influential person, considered to be very close to the then ruling establishment. As such, the case assumed political overtones.
The chargesheet in the case was filed on October 10, 2003 and 16 witnesses were examined during the trial.
On the seized cash, deposited in a bank on a court directive, the judge dismissed the plea of the Income Tax Department, which laid claim to the 'unaccounted' money. The claim of a relative of Serina, Jagadeesh Raja, was upheld. However, the judge said the amount would be handed over to Serina, from whom the claimant could collect it.
The IT Department was free to take action as per law to recover due taxes, if any, the judge stated.
Holding that the other seized articles belonged to Serina, the court directed her to file an appeal to claim them.
Serina and the other accused were present at the court hall when the judgment was delivered.
UNI CR AA RL PM2018