Updated: October 7, 2020 6:18:16 pm
Actor Rhea Chakraborty was released from Byculla jail hours after the Bombay High Court granted her bail in an alleged drugs case related to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. While Rhea was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh, the high court rejected the plea of her brother Showik and alleged drug peddler Abdel Basit Parihar.
The actor left the prison in a car that had its windows covered with newspapers amid a sea of reporters, cameramen, policemen and others gathered outside. This despite the Mumbai Police warning the media against “chasing celebrities and advocates” and “endangering lives” earlier in the day.
Justice Sarang V Kotwal, who passed the bail order, said, “(Rhea) is not part of the chain of drug dealers. She has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits.” “Since she has no criminal antecedents, there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not likely to commit any offence while on bail,” said the judge.
Mumbai: Actor Rhea Chakraborty released from Byculla jail after a month.
She was granted bail by Bombay High Court in a drug-related case filed against her by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) pic.twitter.com/FlfP1re1cQ
— ANI (@ANI) October 7, 2020
Justice Kotwal also disagreed with NCB’s argument that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets an example for the young generation and they do not get encouraged to commit such offences. The judge said, “I do not agree. Everybody is equal before the law.”
On rejecting Showik’s plea, the court noted that the applicant not only knew many drug dealers but was also in touch with them and was actually transacting with them. “At this stage, the investigating agency has sufficient material to show that he (Showik) is a part of a chain of drug dealers engaged in illicit traffic of drugs,” the order stated.
Rhea, who was reportedly in a relationship with Sushant Singh Rajput, was arrested by the NCB on September 8, on charges of being a part of a drug syndicate operating in Mumbai. Her brother Showik was arrested on September 4. Her bail plea was rejected by the special court, following which she has filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court. Since her arrest, Rhea has been in Byculla jail cell. Another court had yesterday extended their judicial custody till October 20.
After the High Court verdict, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde said they are “hounding and witch hunt” against the actor must stop. “Truth and Justice have prevailed and ultimately the submissions on facts and law have been accepted by Justice Sarang V Kotwal. The arrest and custody of Rhea was totally unwarranted and beyond the reach of law,” he said.
The bench also granted bail to Sushant Singh Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant and his domestic help Samuel Miranda on a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 each. They will have to be available for questioning whenever required and further conditions can be imposed for a limited period.
When the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) sought a stay on the operation order for a week, the HC declined the same and said that stringent conditions have been imposed for granting of bail. The court has directed Rhea to appear before her nearest police station for ten days after her release. She has also been restricted from leaving the country without the court’s permission and will have to deposit her passport with the investigating agency. She has also been ordered to inform the investigating officer if she has to leave out Greater Mumbai.
After hearing the bail pleas for nearly seven hours, Justice Kotwal had reserved its orders on September 29 after the NCB submitted that the accused were involved in crimes “worse than murder or culpable homicide” and that the case should be “a lesson” for others.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is separately probing a case against Rhea Chakraborty and others for allegedly abetting the actor’s suicide.
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