Mumbai cruise drugs case: No bail for Aryan Khan after court reserves order for 20 Oct

·4 min read

A special NDPS court in Mumbai reserved order on Aryan Khan's bail in the Mumbai cruise drugs case till 20 October, which means the 23-year-old will be in Arthur Road Jail for roughly another week.

Special judge VV Patil on Thursday heard extensive arguments of the investigating agency NCB and defence lawyers.

Arrested on 2 October, Aryan, the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, has been in jail since 8 October.

Here's a look at the arguments both camps made today:

What did Aryan Khan's lawyer Amit Desai say?

Senior advocate Amit Desai, arguing for Aryan, asked the court to "let him be a free man".

He contended that bail could be granted to Aryan and that it would not take away the NCB's right to investigate the case. He accused NCB of crossing a line by opposing Aryan's bail application. He also pointed out that NCB custody for Aryan was allowed as a bailable offence to facilitate investigation. He requested that strict restrictions be imposed upon Aryan instead as this is case fit for bail.

Desai said in 2001, the NDPS Act underwent drastic changes to promote a more reformative approach towards the drug menace.

He said steps had to be taken in accordance to the law to protect the younger generation from the influence of drugs and reform them rather than leaving them in the fray and punishing them.

He went to contest the seizure panchnama for Aryan's phone saying that it was seized without a seizure memo and that to his knowledge WhatsApp chats are supposed to be private conversations and that children's conversation on such platforms may be misconstrued by adults as children's communication differ from that of adults just like there's a difference between Queen's English and the informal English that is in vogue today.

Desai said the chat messages cited make for weak evidence and lacked a 65B certificate. Desai thus argued that presumption of guilt under Section 35 of the NDPS Act applies during trial and not during investigation. He also dismissed alleged drug trafficking allegations against Aryan saying that the NCB could very well continue investigating and writing the MEA, but after granting bail.

What dis ASG Anil Singh say?

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, arguing on behalf of NCB, said the chats are in simple and clear terms. Singh earlier said Aryan had a "culpable mental state" and has been a "regular consumer" of drugs for the past few years.

Singh said said the NCB will ultimately find out how all the factors are connected to each other and establish a case of conspiracy.

The ASG said it was a matter of future generations and that this is not what freedom fighters in the land of Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned.

He submitted that when considering a case under the NDPS Act, the court has to consider the stringent provisions of the Act.

As per The Times of India, Singh argued that the panchanama clearly establishes that Aryan was in conscious possession of contraband as he admitted that even though the charas was in possession of Arbaaz Merchant, both were going to smoke it on the cruise.

So, it may not be right to say he was not found in possession of any drugs. Both were in touch with peddler Aachit Kumar. He was also in touch with a foreign national. We are taking the assistance of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in this regard and have also written to our head of Department in Delhi, Singh argued.

The panchnama showed that 6 gm charas found from Arbaaz Merchant's shoe, and WhatsApp chats suggested they were going to 'have a blast', stated Singh.

The ASG referred to Section 35 of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on presumption of a culpable mental state and said, "Once we have found drugs from Aryan or Arbaaz, then it has to be presumed that the drugs were found from them and the agency is correct."

On the argument that the maximum punishment for Aryan Khan is one year, Singh said that if a connection is established between one accused and another, charged with a graver offence, the same punishment will apply for both, reported Live Law.

Background

Earlier, a magistrate's court had rejected the bail pleas of Aryan Khan, Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant.

The NCB told a Mumbai sessions court on Wednesday that Aryan allegedly "indulged in illicit drug trafficking" and was involved in the "procuring and distribution of drugs".

The defence on Wednesday argued that Aryan Khan had no cash on him to buy drugs, that no drugs were found on him, and finally, that he wasn't even present during the cruise raid.

The NCB also said WhatsApp chats suggest that Aryan was in touch with a foreign national for procuring hard drugs in bulk and that it provides ground for proving conspiracy.

Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested on 2 October from on board the cruise ship Cordelia in a mid-sea drugs raid.

With inputs from PTI

Also See: No bail for Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha; court reserves order for 20 Oct

Arthur Road jail’s newest inmate: Aryan Khan, prisoner number N956, received Rs 4,500 money order from his parents

No bail for Aryan Khan today, hearing to resume tomorrow; probe reveals his involvement, says NCB

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