A special NDPS court, on Thursday, reserved its order on the bail pleas of Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchantt and Munmun Dhamecha till 20 October. Aryan will continue to stay in jail till at least the 20th.
Aryan Khan was arrested in the cruise ship raid by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). While Aryan's counsel has argued that no drugs were found in his possession, the NCB has argued against bail by claiming that need to investigate an alleged nexus. The NCB also claimed that Aryan is a 'regular consumer of contraband'.
Let's take a look at the arguments in court that took place on Wednesday and Thursday.
'Evidence Shows Aryan Khan is a Regular Consumer of Contraband': NCB
In the bail reply submitted in Court on Wednesday, the NCB claimed that conspiracy forms the base of their investigation. The agency stated that none of the accused can be isolated and hence, the amount of drugs obtained from them is inconsequential.
On Wednesday, ASG Anil Singh had stated in Court that the panchnama says the contraband (6 grams) was obtained from Arbaaz Merchantt, alleging that Aryan Khan knew of the possession, and added that it “would amount to conscious possession.”
On Thursday's bail hearing, the ASG said that Aryan Khan can 'tamper' with evidence if given bail. "He(Aryan Khan) is not a first time consumer. The evidence placed on record shows he is a regular consumer of contraband since last few years".
Singh added that 6gms of charas found from Arbaaz Merchantt's shoe was for him and Aryan's consumption. "He (Aryan) was in conscious possession of the contraband because they have admitted it was for both of them. Therefore the argument that he was not found in possession, must be discarded", the NCB's petition stated.
During the hearing, the ASG further argued that "Innocent until proven guilty" doesn't apply in the cases of NDPS offences. "In the NDPS Act, the presumption is of culpable a mental state, and it is for the accused to prove that he was not in possession during trial", Singh said.
Rhea Chakraborty's brother Showik's bail order was referred to for Aryan's case. The ASG stated that in Rhea's case there was no recovery from Showik but in the present case, there is.
"Showik's contention was that nothing was recovered from him. However the court said the matter is being investigated and you were in touch with a drug dealer. Here, Aachit and Shivraj are the drug dealers. Therefore, in this case also no bail can be granted", Singh told the court.
"We will ultimately find out how they all are connected to each other and establish a case of conspiracy. This isn’t a case of bail at this stage. It can be considered at an appropriate stage", Anil Singh stated.
'Bail Doesn't Take Away Right to Continue Probe': Aryan Khan's Lawyer
The NCB has invoked the NDPS Sections 28, 29, and 37 for Aryan Khan. Senior Advocate Amit Desai, arguing for Aryan, argued on Wednesday that Aryan wasn’t on the cruise ship. Desai read out the case’s panchnama and said that the ‘maximum case’ against Aryan is ‘no possession, admission of consumption.’
Desai had also argued that the allegations of ‘illicit trafficking’ levelled against Aryan are absurd. Referring to Aryan's arrest memo, Desai argued on behalf of his client, “I was arrested on for 20b, 27 and 35 of the NDPS Act. Not 28 and 29 (conspiracy) added later on,” adding 20 (b) isn’t applicable since there is no possession.
Reiterating that Aryan should get bail Desai told the Court on Thursday, "Without affecting the ongoing investigation, bail can still be granted. As bail doesn’t take away their right to continue their investigation".
Desai further stated, "The learned ASG had argued that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets an example. I believe that this was not his personal submission and it was on behalf of his client. To this, the Bombay High Court said, "I don't agree".
Countering the ASG's views about Rhea Chakraborty's case, Desai said that Showik's case has to be distinguished from an end consumer's case because Showik didn't consume but dealt in drugs.
Desai continued that a presumption of guilt under section 35 of the NDPS Act applies during trial and not during investigation.
Desai said that under the NDPS there were provisions for both "severe punishment for illegal trafficking" and "reformative approach for those people who are addicted". "I am not saying my client is (an) addict... I am just reading that document. I am not saying anything personally but I am talking about the Supreme Court, the legislature and the government, and they have accepted that provision of punishment will be decided on basis of quantity," he said.
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