The Madras High Court granted bail to an a man accused of smuggling chewing tobacco on the condition that he pay ₹2 lakh to the Cancer Institute at Adyar, Chennai.

The accused, R. Dinesh Babu, was arrested for allegedly purchasing 8.4 tonnes of chewing tobacco worth ₹43 lakh from Bengaluru and attempting to sell it in Tamil Nadu where it is banned.

Justice M. Nirmal Kumar passed the order on a petition from the accused, who claimed he had nothing to do with the case booked by Mathigiri police in Krishnagiri district against two others and that he had been roped in unnecessarily. The petitioner volunteered to donate the money to the Cancer Institute to prove his bona fide.

According to Additional Public Prosecutor S. Karthikeyan, the police had raided a shed in a garden owned by the petitioner’s business associate Vinay Reddy at Bellagondapalli village on April 28 and seized 8.4 lakh sachets of chewing tobacco. The inquiry revealed that Mathavan was the prime accused but he continued to remain absconding.

Hence, the police had arrested the petitioner as well as Reddy and booked all three of them under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act of 2003, the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act of 1939 and the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

However, petitioner’s counsel R.C. Paul Kanagaraj told the court that his client was arrested just because he was present on the premises when it was raided. An altercation between his lawyer and the police had made the latter to include him too as one of the accused though he was in no way connected with the offence, the counsel said.

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