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I am a 23-year-Old With No Prior Antecedents, No Materials Against Me Even In (Phone) Messages: Aryan Khan Tells Court In Bail Hearing

Sharmeen Hakim
8 Oct 2021 9:14 AM GMT
I am a 23-year-Old With No Prior Antecedents, No Materials Against Me Even In (Phone) Messages: Aryan Khan Tells Court In Bail Hearing
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A Mumbai Court has commenced the hearing on bail applications filed by Aryan Khan, son of actor Shahrukh Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha accused in connection with the seizure of drugs on a luxury cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.Maintainability At the outset, the NCB opposed the bail applications and filed a reply before the Court saying that the same are misconceived...

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A Mumbai Court has commenced the hearing on bail applications filed by Aryan Khan, son of actor Shahrukh Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha accused in connection with the seizure of drugs on a luxury cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.

Maintainability

At the outset, the NCB opposed the bail applications and filed a reply before the Court saying that the same are misconceived and not maintainable.

It was their case that the offences alleged against the accused are exclusively triable by the Special NDPS Court.

ASG Anil Singh, therefore, relied on the case of TK Latika v. Seth Karsandas Jamnadas, to argue that this preliminary issue be decided first, since, if the court comes to the conclusion that the application is not maintainable, then there is no point in going into the merits of the case.

"I am surprised that my senior is citing a civil judgement in a criminal case," Advocate Sayed responded to the ASG's objection.

Maneshinde on the other hand argued that the bar under Section 37 of the NDPS Act does not apply in the instant case hence, bail can be considered by this court.

He further argued that Section 36A of the NDPS Act, which provides that all offences attracting imprisonment for over 3 years are triable by the special court, does not apply in the present case.

He relied on the judgement in Sanjay Narhar Malshe v. State Of Maharashtra to argue that the court is governed by CrPC and while there are several offences that are triable by special courts but, bail can still be considered by the Magistrate's court.

Embargo on grant of bail u/s 37 NDPS not applicable to Aryan Khan: Maneshinde

Advocate Satish Maneshinde appearing for Aryan Khan argued that Khan is not charged for financing under Section 27A of the NDPS Act. Thus, the embargo on grant of bail under Section 37 of the Act will not apply to Khan.

"There is no material (against me), even in messages," he argued.

Maneshinde cited the bail order in Sohil Sk. Samir v. State Of Maharashtra, where the appellant was released despite intermediate quantity.

"I am a 23-year-old with no prior antecedents. I happen to be from Bollywood. I went on an invitation, refused when asked if I have drugs…Data from my mobile has been retrieved and sent for forensics…I have been found with nothing, not an ounce but so much capital is being made out of it," he remarked.

Maneshinde also relied on the judgement in Harsh Shailesh Shah v. State of Maharashtra where the Bombay High Court, while adopting the reformative approach for the two first-time offenders, granted bail in a case for possession and consumption of drugs.

In this case, it was held that prima facie purchasing drugs for another person at a party would not make one a drug peddler to attract the rigours of section 37 for bail under the NDPS Act.

Maneshinde added that Khan has deep roots in the society as his family lives in Bombay and he has an Indian passport. "I (Khan) am not going to abscond. There is no question of tampering. I should be granted bail," he submitted.

Background

On October 2, NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede led a team of officers for a raid at the International Terminal of Mumbai Port Trust from where the Cordelia Cruise liner was to depart for Goa.

Eight people were detained after the NCB allegedly seized intermediate and small quantities of cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), charas and Rs 1,33,000 cash.

Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha were the first to be arrested. They were booked under sections 8(c) read with 20b (purchase), 27 (consumption), 28 (attempt to commit offence), 29 (abetment/ conspiracy) and 35 (presumption of culpable mental state) of the NDPS Act, after six and five grams of charas was allegedly seized from Merchant and Dhamecha respectively.

Nothing was recovered from Khan.

Yesterday, a magistrate court rejected the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) plea seeking further custody of Khan and seven others, saying that simply doing so would violate their fundamental rights. 

So far, the NCB has arrested 17 people in the case and recovered commercial quantities of drug, as well.

The agency arrested several individuals after the cruise that was allowed to set sail following the raid, returned from Goa, on Monday.

Those arrested include 10 guests, four event organisers, two alleged suppliers and one consumer. Eight people are booked under the stringent section 27A of the NDPS Act for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders attracting a 20-year jail term.

EDITED BY AKSHITA SAXENA

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