WHILE THE Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail “with stringent conditions” to actor Rhea Chakraborty, it rejected her brother Showik’s plea on the ground that not only was he in touch with drug dealers but also facilitating procurement of drugs for supplying them to actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who died by suicide on June 14.
A single judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal, in his 22-page order in Showik’s bail plea, said, “The material gathered so far shows that the applicant (Showik) was not only knowing many drug dealers, but he was in touch with them and was actually transacting with them.”
The judge added, “Thus, he is part of a chain of drug dealers. At this stage, the investigating agency has sufficient material to show that he is a part of a chain of drug dealers engaged in illicit traffic of drugs.”
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had alleged that Showik was in direct contact with alleged drug dealers, including co-accused, Abdel Basit Parihar, and monetary transactions were reflected in his account.
The High Court noted, “The applicant (Showik) was facilitating procurement of drugs from one party for supplying them to Sushant Singh Rajput. He was clearly involved in illicit trafficking or illegal trade of drugs. The applicant’s case will have to be distinguished from that of a consumer or an end purchaser.”
Advocate Satish Maneshinde, appearing for Rhea and Showik, had submitted that the investigations by NCB are without jurisdiction, as the case was registered in relation to the drug angle associated with Rajput’s death and the same could be investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as per a Supreme Court order.
The HC, however, refused Maneshinde’s argument and said the NCB is empowered to investigate the case, which is different from the subject matter of Rajput’s death and surrounding circumstances.
Noting that the NCB investigation was at a preliminary stage, Justice Kotwal, while rejecting the bail plea, stated, “The applicant (Showik) appears to be an important link in the chain of drug dealers. He was in touch with different dealers. He had monetary transactions with them. Disclosure by each of them has led to discovery of involvement of others. Hence, it is not desirable to release the applicant on bail at this stage.”
The court also added that it would not adjudicate the issue of “financing” and “harbouring”, as per section 27A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, providing punishment for financing drug trafficking and harbouring offenders made for Showik in view of observations made in Rhea’s bail order and the same can be decided at a later stage.
The court said all observations made are restricted to the HC order and Showik can approach the special NDPS court for his release on bail after the investigation is over.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines