16. Inquiry how to be made by excise officers against arrested persons forwarded to them.-
(1) When any person is forwarded under section 15 to an excise officer empowered to send persons so arrested to a magistrate, the excise officer shall proceed to inquire into the charge against him.
(2) For the purpose of sub-section (1), the excise officer may exercise the same powers, and shall be subject to the same provisions, as the officer in charge of a police station may exercise and is subject to under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), when investigating a cognizable case: Provided that-
(a) if the excise officer is of opinion that there is sufficient evidence or reasonable ground of suspicion against the accused person, he shall either admit him to bail to appear before a magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or forward him in custody without delay to such magistrate;
(b) if it appears to the excise officer that there is not sufficient evidence or reasonable ground of suspicion against the accused person, he shall release the accused person on his executing a bond, with or without sureties as the excise officer may direct, to appear, if and when so required, before the magistrate having jurisdiction and shall make a full report of all the particulars of the case to his official superior.
(3) All officers exercising any powers under section 15 or this section shall so exercise their powers as to ensure that every person who is arrested and detained in custody is produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Court of the magistrate.