Updated: March 19, 2021 4:14:06 am
Actor Deepika Padukone’s manager Karishma Prakash, who is being probed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in an alleged drugs case, has sought to submit before a special court audio recordings of a conversation where she has claimed she was being forced to change her lawyers by an NCB officer to ensure that a stringent charge is not applied against her.
The application filed earlier this week urges the court to hear the recordings and consider it as an additional ground in her seeking anticipatory bail, the application for which is pending before the court.
In her plea, Prakash has said that the NCB had informed the court on November 25, 2020, that section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is being applied against her.
Section 27A, which comes with a maximum punishment of 20 years, relates to illicit trafficking of drugs and harbouring of offenders.
The NCB had earlier charged her with sections related to alleged seizure of banned substances. Her plea alleged that following her refusal to change lawyers and appoint one suggested by the NCB officer, the charge was invoked. Prakash’s application further said that the NCB officer and a lawyer had spoken to her over the phone.
The NCB officer has allegedly told her that if she does not change her lawyer, Section 27A would be invoked against her. Prakash also alleged that in a conference call with the officer and the lawyer, a guarantee was given that if lawyer is engaged, then Section 27 A will not be applied and the “entire complexion of the case would change”.
The officer is also alleged to have said that if the lawyer is engaged, he would provide help from the department. Prakash’s application added that on not agreeing to the proposal, the NCB had informed the court that Section 27A was being applied against her on November 25, last year.
The application further said that the audio recordings were also submitted to the NCB, which reportedly suspended the officer involved.
The plea seeks that the audio recordings be heard by the court so that a “just decision” can be taken on the anticipatory bail plea.
The prosecution on Wednesday had opposed the application, stating that it was not in a proper format and was not supported with an affidavit from Prakash.
The defence lawyers, however, said that it was only filed for ensuring additional ground in support of the pending pre-arrest bail plea.
The court has sought for a reply from the prosecution and adjourned the hearing to next week.
The NCB has named Prakash in the case filed following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Earlier this month, 33 people were chargesheeted in the case. Prakash was not named in the chargesheet, as the probe against her is pending. The NCB has claimed to have seized 1.7 gm of cannabis and CBD oil from Prakash’s residence.
It had assured the court that it will not be taking any coercive steps against her pending her pre-arrest plea.
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