HC directs immediate release of drug smuggler

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Jodhpur, Oct 31 (UNI) Rajasthan High Court today directed the state government to immediately release a narcotic smuggler Phogia, jailed here since November 12,1993.

A High Court bench comprising Justices N N Mathur and Manak Mohta today passed the orders after hearing the appeal of Phogia's counsel Gulam Gustafa Khan.

The preparations for Phogia's release have started in earnest at the Central Jail here and he in all likelihood would be released in the evening today. Phogia would be a free man after 13 long years.

According to the case, Border Security Forces had nabbed Phogia with 10 kg heroine on November 12, 1993. The NDPS court in Jodhpur sentenced Phogia to 10 years imprisonment on August 17, 1994. His sentence got over on Nov 11, 2005.

The intelligence agencies then put Phogia behind bars under the National Security Act. The intellgence agencies say Phogia hails from Ghaniyawala in Pakistan. However, Phogia says he hails from Khunilawala in Jaisalmer.

Phogia's relatives approached the High Court for his release. The High Court directed the Union Home Ministry and the state government to decide Phogia's citizenship and release him by October 30,2006.

But the citizenship issue could not be resolved within that time period and hence the High Court today directed the state government for Phogia's immediate release.


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