A special court that granted bail to actor Rhea Chakraborty’s brother Showik, who was behind bars for three months in an alleged drugs case, has said the charge for financing illicit trafficking or trade of drugs does not apply to him.
Showik Chakraborty, a 24-year-old student, was arrested in September. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) claimed that he was part of a chain of dealers involved in illicit trafficking of drugs. The agency invoked Section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against him. A person can get maximum punishment of 20 years if the charge for financing illicit trafficking is proven.
“Considering the role of the present applicant as alleged, I find that… Section 27A of NDPS Act does not apply to the case of the applicant,” the court said, relying on the Bombay High Court’s observations on the section while granting bail to Rhea in October.
The High Court had then said allegations about Rhea procuring drugs for actor Sushant Singh Rajput could not mean that she had financed illicit trade or business involving drugs.
The court also took into account that there was no recovery of drugs from Showik and said recovery of commercial quantities of a banned drug from a co-accused does not concern him.
“The ingredients of Section 27A of the NDPS Act are absent in the case of applicant. The recovery of contraband from accused Anuj Keswani has no concern with the applicant. Therefore, in the present case stringent provision of Section 37 of NDPS Act do not apply,” the court said. Section 37 makes it difficult for those booked under certain sections of the NDPS Act to get bail.
Last week, the special court ordered his release after allowing his second bail application. The court took into consideration that the probe against Showik was complete and the NCB had submitted evidence only in the form of statements of five co-accused, including Rhea and his own confessional statement. The statements have been rendered inadmissible following a Supreme Court order last month, which said the accused cannot be convicted on the basis of such confessional statements.
“The ratio laid down in the (Supreme Court) ruling is squarely applicable to the case in hand because applicant is arrested on the basis of confessional statement of co-accused and his statement. Further… the investigation in respect of the applicant is completed. Applicant is a young boy. He is a student and his antecedents are clear,” the court observed.
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