Updated: October 27, 2021 8:08:12 am
The Bombay High Court Tuesday adjourned the bail plea of Aryan Khan, actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son arrested in the cruise drug seizure case, to Wednesday. Senior Advocate and former Attorney General for India Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing Aryan, argued that no drugs had been recovered from him, and no medical test had shown he consumed drugs.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) opposed the bail plea, alleging that the 23-year-old was not just a consumer of drugs, but also involved in illicit drug trafficking.
Aryan was seeking bail from the Bombay High Court after both the Magistrate and Sessions courts had rejected his plea.
Here are the top developments from Aryan Khan bail hearing:
🔴 The NCB said Aryan is an influential person and is likely to tamper with evidence or flee justice if released on bail. It further added that evidence shows that Aryan was in touch with persons abroad who were a part of an international drug network.
🔴 NCB said material collected during the investigation primarily revealed that Aryan had played a role in the illicit procurement and distribution of contraband procured from Arbaaz Merchant.
🔴 The agency also claimed that Aryan Khan and a woman named Pooja Dadlani, Shah Rukh Khan’s manager, were tampering with the evidence and witnesses in the case in an attempt to derail the investigation.
🔴 Rohatgi, appearing for Aryan, said, “The applicant is 23-year-old and was earlier in California in USA. There was a cruise from Mumbai to Goa and he was invited on the cruise as a guest by one Prateek Gaba. There was no recovery from the applicant and there wasn’t anything in his possession. There was no occasion to arrest my client.”
🔴 He further added, “The NCB sent officers to apprehend customers. Aryan and Arbaaz were apprehended. Merchant had 6 gram of charas recovered from his shoes as per NCB and he’s denying it. My client is not concerned with it, except that he is my friend. There was no medical examination of Khan to show that there was consumption.”
🔴 Rohatgi also said that there was no material to show that Aryan financed the illicit trafficking of drugs. “There is no case of conspiracy at all and there is no abetment and I am not in any master-servant relationship. That’s the position of all the facts before court. I am not admitting any consumption or use. These are young boys. Even if you admit ‘conscious possession’ of 6 grams, the idea is law (NDPS Act) provides for young boys with no antecedents as victims, rather than those persons who are hardened criminals,” he argued.
🔴 Earlier, Aryan’s advocates submitted to the HC an additional note, stating that he has nothing to do with the allegations and counter-allegations that are being circulated between the NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede and certain political personalities. “The zonal director of NCB in his affidavit said that it (allegation) is on account of the enmity with a political personality (Nawab Malik) whose son-in-law was arrested. Today what is being said is kind of rebounding on me. Kindly keep me away from that controversy. I ( Aryan Khan) don’t have any grievance,” Rohtagi said in court.
🔴 Rohtagi also argued that none of WhatsApp chats recovered from phone relate to the cruise party. “According to me there is no consumption or possession and even if conscious possession is concerned, punishment is for one year. Aryan is not charged with section 27A of the NDPS Act as it was just one incident. However, they’ve charged Aryan with conspiracy under section 29. It is general, vague situation. Their charge of conspiracy is to cover section 27A and once it is invoked, the bar for granting bail under section 37 of the NDPS Act kicks in. There is no past conviction in this case,” he said.
🔴 Rohatgi also cited past judgments of the Supreme Court and HCs to support his case. He cited an order of Bombay HC from August this year, which spoke about “opportunity of reforms” for young persons accused in NDPS cases. He also handed over an article in The Indian Express referring to remarks by social justice ministry on reformation in drugs consumption.
🔴 Senior counsel Amit Desai said a chat between two friends who play poker online was being used to establish the consumption of drugs. “There is no conspiracy. There was chitchat between two friends who play poker and it is from 18 months ago, and the same is not connected to this case…NCB is roping in anybody and everybody using an “umbrella charge of conspiracy,” he said.
🔴 After Desai made arguments for another applicant and said he will take half an hour more to argue, the court adjourned the hearing on bail pleas to Wednesday afternoon due to paucity of time.
(With ENS inputs)
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