The Supreme Court has held that a person can be guilty of being a drug peddler even if he is dealing with narcotics on the Internet. This is even if he is not handling them physically. The landmark ruling against illegal online drugs trade is a blow to those who claim the protection of Section-79 of the Information Technology Act. This act provides immunity against criminal prosecution to service providers.
The accused is Sanjay Kumar Kedia owner of M/s Xponse Technologies Limited (XTL) and M/s Xponse IT Services Pvt Ltd (XIT). He has been charged under Sections 24 and 29 of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act.
In February 2007, Kedia was arrested by the officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) . He has been accused of actually running an Internet pharmacy and dealing with narcotics like "Phentermine and Butalbital."
Sections 24 and 29 of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act prohibit any persons from engaging in a trade of narcotics or psychotropic substances outside India without the prior permission of the Government of India.
"The said business was only a facade and camouflage for more sinister activity," a bench of Justices S B Sinha and H S Bedi ruled.
Sanjay Kumar Kedia is an IIT alumnus and US-trained software expert. He had started a BPO operation in which US-based customers wanting to purchase medicines were channeled to appropriate pharmaceutical suppliers.