81-year-old doctor let off after over 28 yrs of trial

An 81-year-old doctor, caught manufacturing and selling spurious drugs and cosmetics over 28 years ago and sentenced to three years in jail for his crime, has been let off on probation by a Delhi court.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Savita Rao let off Dr H R Kanwal on a year's probation after modifying the three-year jail-term, imposed by the magisterial court upon him, to a year.

The court enlarged the convict on probation saying though the offences committed by him have grave social and economic implications, sending him to jail will not serve any purpose in the given circumstances.

The sessions court also took note of the convict's pleading for leniency on the ground that he faced the trial for 28 years, during which his only son was murdered.

"Though the trial court has rightly observed that the offence committed by the appellant have grave social repercussions upon the consumers who were using it believing it to be a genuine product and there is also heavy revenue loss to the company having license to manufacture the same, thereby affecting the economy of the country, but considering the reasons as stated above, no purpose would be served by sending him behind the bars," the ASJ said.

The ASJ ordered Kanwal's release on one year probation on furnishing a bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of like amount.

Dr Kanwal was caught nearly three decades ago by a Drug Inspector and the trial court in September last year had sentenced him to three years in jail, while also imposing a a total of Rs 35,000 as fine for offences punishable under various provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act dealing with manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs.

He came in appeal before the sessions court and challenged the sentence saying he is 81-years-old and there was no record of any other conviction against him. His counsel pleaded that Kanwal has faced the trial for about 28 years.

"It is stated that Kanwal had suffered serious head injury eight years ago and is undergoing regular treatment for that. The appellant had only one son who has now been murdered and the appellant had to face that trauma of loss of his son as well," the session court judge noted in the order.

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