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WhatsApp Chats Surfaced In Media Before Coming On Court Record: Arbaaz Merchant Tells Bombay High Court In Aryan Khan Drug Case

Sharmeen Hakim
27 Oct 2021 1:03 PM GMT
WhatsApp Chats Surfaced In Media Before Coming On Court Record: Arbaaz Merchant Tells Bombay High Court In Aryan Khan Drug Case
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The Bombay High Court was today told that the allegedly incriminatory WhatsApp chats of Arbaaz Khan, co-accused in the cruise shup drug case related to Aryan Khan, surfaced in the media before being placed on record. "The media had the chats before it was on the court record. This is the world we live in," Senior Advocate Amit Desai appearing for Arbaaz told Justice NW Sambre who was...

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The Bombay High Court was today told that the allegedly incriminatory WhatsApp chats of Arbaaz Khan, co-accused in the cruise shup drug case related to Aryan Khan, surfaced in the media before being placed on record.

"The media had the chats before it was on the court record. This is the world we live in," Senior Advocate Amit Desai appearing for Arbaaz told Justice NW Sambre who was hearing their bail pleas.

Significantly, the NCB has largely relied on the accused persons' WhatsApp chats to accuse them of drugs conspiracy and illicit trade under the NDPS Act.

Before the Special Court, NCB had argued that there is a specific reference to bulk quantity in the WhatsApp chats, and that Aryan Khan is not a first-time consumer. It was also sated that Khan was acting in conspiracy with his friend Arbaaz Merchant, who was found in possession of contraband (small quantity).

Agreeing with the proposition, the Special Court had denied bail, saying WhatsApp chats prima facie reveal that accused Aryan Khan is dealing in illicit drug activities for narcotic substances on regular basis.

Before the High Court, the accused have submitted that the WhatsApp chats do not relate to the incident in question. "Hence by no stretch of imagination can those purported messages be linked to any conspiracy for which the secret information was received," it is argued, adding that the chats will have to be tested at the time of trial.

It is also submitted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while presiding over a NDPS matter, had held that WhatsApp chats are inadmissible without certificate issued as per Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act. "Digital evidence has to be verified," Desai said.

It was also contended that there is no seizure panchnama of the phones. "They argued phones were voluntarily handed over. But with personal devices it is important to have a memo for veracity", Desai argued.

He added,

"What is abundantly clearly is that there are no WhatsApp chats that connect conspiracy to the rave party... they date three and six months back... The fundamental thing is if all these (chats) are going to be treated as confessions, then such type of evidence has already been discarded by Justice Dere in a judgement."

Also Read: Aryan Khan's Arrest Is A Direct Infringement Of Constitutional Guarantees: Mukul Rohatgi Argues For Bail Before Bombay High Court

Also Read: 'No Evidence Of Conspiracy, A Case Of Personal Consumption, Maximum Punishment Is One Year': Amit Desai Argues In Aryan Khan Case In Bombay HC

The High Court will continue hearing the bail pleas tomorrow.

Inputs by Akshita Saxena

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