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NCB opposes Aryan bail plea, says purported affidavit by panch witness attempt to derail probe

NCB said material collected during investigation primarily revealed that Aryan had played a role in the illicit procurement and distribution of contraband. The affidavit said he procured contraband from Arbaaz Merchant.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: October 26, 2021 2:12:41 pm
Aryan Khan, NCB, NCB on Aryan khan, Mumbai news, Bombay HC, Aryan khan links, Aryan khan bail, India news, Indian expressAryan Khan was arrested on October 3 by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for alleged conspiracy, possession, consumption, purchase and trafficking of drugs. (FIle)

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Tuesday filed an affidavit opposing the bail plea of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan – arrested after a seizure of drugs on a cruise ship following a raid by the agency on October 2.

The agency said Aryan is an influential person and is likely to tamper with evidence or flee justice if released on bail. The central agency said evidence shows a part of the illicit drug trafficking and Aryan were in touch with persons abroad who were a part of an international drug network.

NCB said material collected during investigation primarily revealed that Aryan had played a role in the illicit procurement and distribution of contraband. The affidavit said he procured contraband from Arbaaz Merchant.

The affidavit filed through Superintendent V V Singh said that the present bail plea is “misconceived” and Aryan and co-accused Arbaaz Merchant have been in close collaboration with each other which is sufficient to invoke offences under Section 29 (Conspiracy) of the NDPS Act. “The role of one accused cannot be dissected from another,” the affidavit reads.

The NCB also referred to an affidavit of one of the witnesses, Prabhakar Sail, and said its investigation was being interfered with and attempts are being made to tamper with the ongoing probe with a malafide attempt to derail the same.

The NCB further said, “Such a document (by Sail) has not been filed in any proceeding before any court despite that the matter is subjudice before the Sessions Court and HC. Curiously, the same has been clandestinely distributed and widely publicised in the media. Significantly, such purported affidavit clearly names Pooja Dadlani, Manager connected to the applicant. It so appears that said lady appears to have influenced such a panch witness when the investigation is ongoing, such interference at the stage if investigation is a malafide attempt to ensure that the same is derailed and the quest of truth is obstructed.”

Further, NCB responded that there was no evidence to substantiate the claim by Sail that its zonal director Sameer Wankhede and the independent witnesses were trying to extort money in the case.

The affidavit further said, “The investigation reveals that all persons form part of a larger chain and their involvement in conspiracy to commit illegal acts cannot be ruled out. Therefore, all accused persons are an integral part of a common thread, which cannot be separated or dissected from each other.”

It further said that the bar to grant bail under section 37 of the NDPS Act, which puts stringent conditions for grant of bail in case of offences involving a commercial quantity of drugs, will be applicable in the case. “The recovery of contraband is not important and even if there was no recovery of substance, the accused were involved in conspiracy,” the affidavit stated.

The NCB’s reply claimed that there have been several seizures in intermediary quantity from co-accused and there was also seizure of commercial quantity of mephedrone from one accused. “There was sufficient material in the form of WhatsApp chats, pictures, etc to show that Khan was an active part of the illicit drug chain with other co-accused. In such a situation, the quantum of recovery (of drugs) from one individual becomes inconsequential and none of them can be considered in isolation for grant of bail.

“Mere speculation that maximum punishment against Khan (Aryan) will be only one year imprisonment, is purely based on surmises and conjectures when NCB has sufficient material to show ingredients of conspiracy,” the affidavit read and sought dismissal of the plea.

In his bail plea filed before the Bombay High Court, Aryan denied charges of “conspiracy” and claimed that the central agency has been “misinterpreting” WhatsApp chats to incriminate him.

Aryan had approached the High Court after a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court rejected his bail plea last Wednesday. Denying him bail, the NDPS court had said that although no drugs were found on him, since he was with Arbaaz Merchant — who was found with contraband — and knew about the drugs, the same amounted to “conscious possession”.

A single-judge bench of Justice Nitin W Sambre is likely to hear Aryan’s bail plea along with pleas of co-accused Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant in the post lunch session.

Meanwhile, Aryan in his written submissions has denied allegations by NCB and distanced himself from Sail’s affidavit and the entire controversy.

The submissions read, “The applicant has nothing to do with allegations and counter allegations on social media…between NCB Mumbai zonal director and certain political personalities. That the applicant does not make any allegations against any individual in the prosecution department. The applicant does not have any connection with said Mr. Sail, deponent of an affidavit dated October 23 filed in these proceedings or with his purported employer Mr K P Gosavi, who is also panch witness. The bail plea decided on merits uninfluenced by aforesaid assertions of parties or counter parties as referred above.”

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