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Cruise drug bust case: NCB couldn’t show accused supplied drugs to Arbaaz Merchant, says court in bail order

🔴 NCB had claimed that Aryan Khan used to procure contraband from Merchant and sources connected to him. The agency had claimed Khan was in touch with a few persons abroad who appeared to be part of an international network for illicit procurement of drugs.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: November 28, 2021 5:48:14 pm
Cruise drug bust case: NCB couldn't show accused supplied drugs to Arbaaz Merchant, says court in bail orderAccording to the probe, while co-accused Aachit Kumar, alleged drug supplier to Khan, was arrested with 2.6 grams of Ganja, Ramdas, a supplier to Merchant, was arrested with 62 grams of Charas. (PTI File)

Observing that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) prima facie could not produce anything on record to show that the applicant was a supplier of contraband, the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act Court in Mumbai recently granted bail to Shivraj Harijan Ramdas, the alleged drug supplier arrested in the cruise ship drug bust case.

While the court granted bail to Ramdas on November 22, the detailed order was made available on Friday.

The NCB had claimed that 62 gm (small quantity) of “dark brown sticky substance purported to be charas” was recovered from Ramdas. As per the agency, Shivraj is a drug supplier to Arbaaz Merchant, a co-accused in the case. According to the NCB, Merchant is a friend of co-accused Aryan Khan, actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son. Ramdas, a resident of Murugan Chawl, Santacruz (West), was arrested on October 9.

NCB had claimed that Aryan Khan used to procure contraband from Merchant and sources connected to him. The agency had claimed Khan was in touch with a few persons abroad who appeared to be part of an international network for illicit procurement of drugs.

According to the probe, while co-accused Aachit Kumar, alleged drug supplier to Khan, was arrested with 2.6 grams of Ganja, Ramdas, a supplier to Merchant, was arrested with 62 grams of Charas.

The agency said that the material available with it showed the role of the applicant in illicit drug trafficking with other co-accused, adding that therefore he was rightly booked under section 29 (conspiracy) of the NDPS Act.

Advocate Sandeep Sherkhane for applicant Ramdas said the material allegedly recovered from his client is of non-commercial, small quantity and hence, there was no bar on granting him bail under section 37 of the NDPS Act. He added that the applicant was arrested after seven days of lodging FIR in the case, made a scapegoat and falsely implicated by NCB.

“He has no link with any of the co-accused and was arrested only on the basis of Merchant’s statement, which has been retracted by him before magistrate…” Sherkhane argued.

The advocate said Harijan, a driver by profession, is the only bread winner in his family and thus, there is no likelihood of him going absconding.

After perusing the submissions, special Judge V V Patil observed in his order: “Barring the statement of accused under section 67 of NDPS Act, there is no prima facie evidence on record to show that the applicant was supplier of the contraband. Therefore, contention of the prosecution cannot be accepted that the applicant is a peddler and that he supplied contraband to the accused.”

The judge held, “It cannot be said that prima facie there is conspiracy and abetment as alleged by the prosecution. Hence section 29 of NDPS Act is not applicable. Hence fetters of section 37 of NDPS Act would not apply. There is no evidence on record to show that the applicant committed an offence pertaining to commercial quantity. Hence, the applicant is entitled to grant of bail.”

The court also noted that Ramdas is not likely to abscond or flee justice and directed his release on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one or more sureties of like amount. He was also asked to cooperate with the probe and attend NCB’s Mumbai zonal office every Monday between 1 pm and 4 pm till filing of chargesheet in the case.

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