Mumbai, Oct 27: The Bombay High Court is hearing Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan’s bail plea. The legal team of Aryan Khan told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday there was no evidence against him in the drugs-on-cruise case and was wrongly arrested and kept in jail for over 20 days.
The court will on Wednesday hear the arguments of Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NCB.
Aryan (23), meanwhile, distanced himself from an allegation of extortion attempt against the NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede who had supervised the raid on the ship on October 2.
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Desai: So far as whatsapp chats are concerned, it is abundantly clear that there are no whatsapp chats to support the conspiracy theory
Desai: There is no connection whatsoever between the others. There are no WhatsApp chats.
Senior Advocate Amit Desai arguing for Arbaaz Merchant says, I will try to finish in a few minutes. Only factual. What they found from me was 6 gms. But they said 21 gms of charas.
Court: How much time will you take?
Desai: 30 more minutes..
Court: then I will take it tomorrow, because I have remaining board
Desai: We saw in the morning in Sessions Court.. two young children and experimenting.. and these two people were from Orissa and their reply was identical but then we read today they have been granted bail. These are boys who were on the vessel, the vessel left, they enjoyed and then they came back, and then they were picked up. And they have been granted bail.
There are 4 ingredients to a crime. Intention is the highest crime. If the party was organized, and the organizers were to supply, then conspiracy applies. But if there is intention to consume then that also should not apply as no medical test is done: Desai was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench
Amit Desai has argued that there is no body arrested or produced before the court as of now. But the remand application does not talk of conspiracy, later it says 8 people conspired and then the reply today says conspiracy of 20 people.
Amit Desai cites Andhra Pradesh judgement in which the Court was considering whether 41A applies to NDPS Act. Section 41A applies to NDPS Act which are punishable with imprisonment of less than 7 years
Amit Desai: Law is – bail is the rule and jail is exception, now it is Arrest is the rule and Bail is exception.
Senior Advocate Amit Desai arguing for Arbaaz Merchant says, all these three people have been arrested for identical offences without Section 27A and 29 and they were arrested only for 20(b) and 27.
Senior Advocate Amit Desai starts arguing for Arbaaz Merchant
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi with Advocate Satish Maneshinde have also come. Justice Sambre is now hearing Item number 33.
Justice Sambre has finished kept back and now hearing the regular board.
Khan’s bail application is listed at item number 37 of the hearing board of Justice Nitin Sambre.
Justice Sambre has presided and is now hearing kept back matters.
The agency said prima facie investigation revealed that Aryan Khan used to procure drugs from Arbaaz Merchant and was in touch with “some persons abroad who appear to be part of an international drug network”. The affidavit further said though drugs were not recovered from Aryan Khan, he “participated in the conspiracy”.
The NCB said that Aryan Khan’s attempt to influence witnesses was “evident from the contents of a purported affidavit of one Prabhakar Sail” (who has accused Wankhede of attempted extortion), and Dadlani “appears to have influenced panch witnesses when the investigation is ongoing”.
Aryan Khan’s lawyers, on the other hand, submitted an “additional note” to the HC, stating that he had nothing to do with the allegations against Sameer Wankhede.
Earlier in the day, the NCB opposed Aryan’s bail plea in an affidavit filed before the HC, alleging that he was not just a consumer of drugs, but also involved in illicit drug trafficking. The agency also claimed that Aryan Khan and Pooja Dadlani, Shah Rukh Khan’s manager, were tampering with the evidence and influencing witnesses.
A special court for NDPS cases had refused to grant them bail, noting that they were, on the face of it, part of conspiracy and Aryan Khan apparently had a nexus with drug peddlers and indulged in “illicit drug activities on a regular basis”.
Aryan was arrested on October 3 along with his friend Arbaaz Merchant and fashion model Dhamecha by the NCB, along with others. While Aryan and Merchant are now lodged at the Arthur Road prison, Dhamecha is at the Byculla Women’s Prison.
Aryan Khan did not even know the other accused barring Arbaaz Merchant and Aachit Kumar with whom he got acquainted with while playing online poker, Rohatgi said, questioning the NCB’s charge that Aryan was part of conspiracy and abetment. This was not a case where people were caught by the NCB while smoking and consuming drugs during a party, and most of the arrested accused were not even on the cruise ship, Rohatgi said, adding that Aryan himself had not boarded the ship at the time of arrest. Aryan had also retracted the statement allegedly given by him to the NCB after his arrest, the lawyer said.
The NCB also wrongly relied on WhatsApp chats of Aryan Khan as they had no connection with the present case, Rohatgi said. “The chats are of 2018, 2019 and 2020 and it has absolutely no connection with this cruise party. The chats are with some random persons including some foreigners about drugs. This would relate to alleged consumption in the past,” he said.
Even if it counted as possession (on Aryan’s part), the quantity was only six grams of charas which is considered as small quantity’ under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and the punishment for the same is only one year, he added.
“Conscious possession means something that is under my control. What somebody has in their possession or not is not in my control. Arbaaz Merchant is not my servant and what he has is not in my control,” Rohatgi argued.
The senior counsel assailed the order of the special NDPS Act court refusing Aryan bail on the ground that he was aware that his friend Arbaaz Merchant had drugs and hence Aryan was guilty, prima facie, of “conscious possession”.
After Rohatgi completed his arguments, the high court said it would continue hearing on the bail pleas of co-accused Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha on Wednesday. He will also hear the arguments of Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, the NCB’s lawyer, on Wednesday, the judge said. During his argument, Rohatgi also pointed out that Aryan was not subjected to any medical examination to show that he had indeed consumed drugs.
The case was being blown out of proportions by some people who have vested interests and the media was paying attention to it because of some unsavoury controversies, otherwise it was a simple case, he added. “There is no evidence of consumption, no recovery of drugs and absolutely no evidence to show his participation in this so-called conspiracy and abetment as alleged by the NCB,” Rohatgi said.
“If these persons are agreeable to be sent to rehab then that should be allowed. Aryan’s case is not even of possession or consumption,” Rohatgi said, adding he cannot be held responsible for some other person’s alleged possession of drugs. The 23-year-old has been wrongly arrested and kept in jail for over 20 days, he said.