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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Only tasked to perform shows on board Cordelia, 4 arrested ‘organisers’ tell court

The NCB has arrested Gopal Jee Anand, Samir Sehgal, Manav Singhal and Bhaskar Arora, linked to the company Caneplus Trading, which under its brand name operates an independent 'show management entity'

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
October 28, 2021 6:30:26 am
Narcotics Control Bureau, NCB, Aryan Khan, Aryan, SRK, Shah Rukh Khan, Cordelia, cruise raid, raid, BollywoodSeeking bail on their behalf, lawyer Sajal Yadav told the court that their company had entered into an agreement for live entertainment shows on board Cordelia cruise ship. He added that more than 1,500 passengers were issued boarding passes. (Representational)

Countering the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) claim that they were the “organisers” of the cruise ship event, four arrested in the cruise ship drug raid case for allegedly harbouring offenders, told a court on Wednesday that their role was limited to performing live entertainment shows and that they had nothing to do with security, entry, ticketing or allotment of rooms to passengers.

The NCB has arrested Gopal Jee Anand, Samir Sehgal, Manav Singhal and Bhaskar Arora, linked to the company Caneplus Trading, which under its brand name Namascray operates an independent “show management entity”.

Seeking bail on their behalf, lawyer Sajal Yadav told the court that their company had entered into an agreement for live entertainment shows on board Cordelia cruise ship. He added that more than 1,500 passengers were issued boarding passes. The company, in all its promotions on social media and its ticketing page, had clearly warned passengers from abstaining from bringing any drugs or illegal substances, said Yadav.

He further said that before boarding the ship, passengers were mandated to get their documents checked by CISF, issued bar-coded keys by the Cordelia team at the terminal and then subjected to further frisking, screening and security checks through metal detectors.

“If any passenger, despite the above, by surreptitious means and concealment, successfully carried any contraband, without any consent or connivance… its knowledge cannot be attributed to the four accused merely by taking resort to presumption,” Yadav said.

He added that Section 27 A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, which has been invoked against the four, has provisions defining “harbouring an offender”.

The NCB, while opposing bail to the four, has said that they being an “integral part of organising the event”, are presumed to know and be aware of passengers. It said that even if it assumed that initial security checks were carried out, when illegal activities began on the cruise, they should have taken remedial measures.

“I should knowingly harbour somebody and that somebody should be an offender who apprehends arrest. Here, there is no disclosure on who is that offender I have allegedly harboured. The provisions state that the person who has harboured an offender should have supplied them with food, shelter etc. I have set out a case that I could not even have provided these as these aspects were in the control of Cordelia, not me. The entry, exit, security and lodging was controlled by someone else and that somebody is not an accused in the case. I was only an organiser of some events, musical and stand-up comedy,” Yadav said on behalf of the accused.

He added that the ship was like a hotel with 1,500 random guests. He further said that NCB had not brought on record any description, names or the number of persons the four accused are alleged to have harboured.

Yadav also said that the accused were detained on October 4 when the ship returned to Mumbai but their arrest was only shown the next day, which amounted to illegal detention. He said no drugs were recovered from them and despite repeated requests, no blood test was carried out on them by NCB.

On NCB alleging that the nature of the event organised on the cruise was a “rave party”, Yadav said: “This is a term they are using. It is not in any advertisement or representation. It is otherwise a party with music, lights and dance. It is not by definition a drugs party.”

The NCB will respond to the arguments on Thursday.

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