Updated: October 7, 2021 7:40:06 am
Arbaaz Merchant, the 26-year-old man arrested along with Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, filed for bail on Wednesday stating that while the two of them had no connection with others boarding the cruise ship where an alleged drug racket was busted last Saturday, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has shown a combined drug recovery to “detain and harass” them.
Merchant also filed a separate application seeking that CCTV camera footage of the international terminal be produced before the court for a “clear and genuine picture” of the case. Additional Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar directed the NCB to file its response to the pleas.
In the bail application filed through lawyer Taraq Sayed, Merchant stated that a copy of the panchnama prepared on the day of the incident at the terminal mentions that the NCB had received specific information that a group of travellers on the Cordelia cruise ship were carrying party drugs for sale and consumption.
The plea added that the first two persons at the departure gate of the ship – allegedly matching the description received by the NCB – were co-accused Vikrant Chhokar and Ismeet Chadda and they were apprehended around 4.50 pm.
It added that Merchant and Khan reached the gate subsequently. While nothing was found on Khan, the NCB has claimed that 6 gm of charas was found in Merchant’s shoe. The central agency continued to screen guests and the panchnama was completed at 8.10 pm, the plea stated.
“The department (NCB) ought to have come up with clean hands before this court and prosecute the accused persons individually for individual recoveries as each of these accused persons… alleged to be passengers on a cruise ship… were traveling individually and not in a group,” the plea stated.
It added that the NCB seeking custody of Khan and Merchant on grounds that they have to be confronted with other co-accused is being done with the “sole intention to detain and harass” them.
Merchant also sought for CCTV camera footage of the terminal from 11.30 am to 8.30 pm on October 2 to confirm the veracity of the case. He said that the international terminal is a restricted area where only those with security passes or bonafide travel documents can enter. “The entire area is under the protection of CISF and complete CCTV and video surveillance. It is the case of the prosecution that searches were conducted at the departure gate and contraband was allegedly recovered. It is the humble submission of the accused that no contraband was recovered at the instance of the applicant and a false case foisted upon them,” Merchant’s plea stated.
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