The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday filed a chargesheet against six persons, including Sameer Khan, the son-in-law of NCP leader and state Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik, in connection to a drugs case.
The accused named in the chargesheet are Khan, Karan Sejnani, Rahila Furniturewala, her sister Shaista Furniturewala, Ramkumar Tiwari – one of the brothers who owns Mucchad Paanwala paan shop in south Mumbai – and Anuj Keshwani.
While the NCB has claimed in the chargesheet that the accused conspired to procure, sell, purchase and transport 194.6 kg of ganja and six CBD sprays, chemical analysis reports annexed to the chargesheet has stated that of the 18 samples sent for forensic analysis, eight have turned out to be negative. These eight amount to over 85 kg of the 194.6 kg seizures made from the accused as claimed by NCB.
NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede said the chemical analysis or forensic report shows the presence of 86 kg of cannabis, which is a commercial quantity as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The report dated July 6, received from the Gujarat Forensic Science Laboratory, has stated that one of the samples examined had substance found to be “ganja as defined in the NDPS Act”.
It added that five other samples “contain active constituents of cannabis (dronabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol)”. “Four other samples had the presence of cannabidiol (CBD). The remaining eight show no presence of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance,” the report stated.
Defence lawyers pursuing the case have contested NCB’s claim that the report shows the presence of 86 kg of cannabis. They have claimed that the nine samples containing active constituents of cannabis do not fall under the NDPS Act.
“The report states one sample to be ganja as defined in the NDPS Act and does not say the same about the other nine samples. The complaint is frivolous. Cannabidiol and other constituents mentioned in the forensic report do not fall under the definition of cannabis as per the Act,” said lawyer Taraq Sayyed, representing Khan and Rahila Furniturewala.
“We will be approaching the Bombay High Court with a writ petition challenging the illegal detention of the accused,” he added.
Lawyer Ayaz Khan, representing Sejnani, said: “The Act defines ganja as the flowering of fruiting tops of cannabis plant and this does not include the constituents mentioned in the report.”
He added that if this is considered, the report shows only six gram of ganja recovered, which is a small quantity.
A senior NCB official said that the constituents are included as narcotic drugs in a notification issued by the department of revenue. The official added that the agency will seek a retest of the samples that have tested negative if permitted by the special court.
Apart from the forensic report, the chargesheet includes statements, call data records and bank transactions of the accused. The NCB has charged them under various sections of the Act, including financing illicit trafficking.
Tiwari and Shaista Furniturewala have been granted bail by the court while the others remain in custody.