A special court on Wednesday granted bail to Showik Chakraborty, actor Rhea Chakraborty’s brother, who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in September in an alleged drugs case lodged after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June.
Showik, a 24-year old student, had filed a second bail application last month, citing a Supreme Court judgment, which had held that statements made before NCB officers cannot be considered as confessions. His earlier bail applications filed before the special court in September and subsequently the Bombay High Court were rejected.
In his second bail plea, Showik had said that when he was produced before the special court on September 5 after his arrest, he had retracted his statement made before NCB officers, as it was non-voluntary. Lawyers Aabad Ponda and Ayaz Khan, appearing for Showik, told the court that the NCB was solely relying on statements of co-accused as evidence to keep him behind bars.
The NCB has claimed that Showik was in touch with alleged drug dealers and facilitated procurement of drugs that were supplied to Sushant. It had relied on statements of five accused in the case, including Rhea, Sushant’s cook Dipesh Sawant and manager Samuel Miranda, who were granted bail by the HC in October.
Showik’s lawyers told the court that the Supreme Court had last month held that the officers who are vested with powers under Section 53 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act are “police officers” and statements given before them cannot be taken into account to convict an accused under the Act. They argued that this was an obvious change in circumstances, which warranted a fresh consideration of Showik’s right to get bail.
The special court considered these submissions while allowing bail to Showik on a personal bond of Rs 50,000. It also imposed conditions like he should deposit his passport with the NCB.
The court on Wednesday also granted bail to Abdel Basit Parihar, who the NCB claimed Showik had bought marijuana from. Over 20 accused have been arrested in the case so far by the NCB.
The NCB has approached the sessions court, seeking that the bail granted to comedian Bharti Singh and her husband Harsh Limbachiya be revoked. The couple was arrested last month for alleged possession of 86.5 gm of cannabis. The magistrate’s court had granted them bail the next day.
The NCB has said its special public prosecutor could not remain present for the hearing, as he was busy in another matter. It added that while the magistrate was informed of the prosecutor’s inability to attend the hearing, the court granted the couple bail without hearing the prosecution. The agency has said the order was therefore “illegal” and should be set aside. The plea will be heard next week.
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