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If Sushant Gets Only Smaller Punishment Under NDPS Act, How Can Rhea Be Booked Under Section 27A? Lawyer Asks In Bail Hearing

Nitish Kashyap
29 Sep 2020 5:10 PM GMT
If Sushant Gets Only Smaller Punishment Under NDPS Act, How Can Rhea Be Booked Under Section 27A? Lawyer Asks In Bail Hearing
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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved the judgment in the bail applications filed by Rhea Chakraborty, Showik Chakraborty, Samuel Miranda, Dipesh Sawant and Abdel Parihar, all accused by the Narcotics Control Bureau under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act.After hearing submissions on behalf of all the accused and the prosecuting agency from morning...

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved the judgment in the bail applications filed by Rhea Chakraborty, Showik Chakraborty, Samuel Miranda, Dipesh Sawant and Abdel Parihar, all accused by the Narcotics Control Bureau under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act.

After hearing submissions on behalf of all the accused and the prosecuting agency from morning 11 am to almost 7 pm in the evening, Justice SV Kotwal reserved the judgment.

Advocate Satish Manshinde made submissions on behalf of accused Rhea Chakraborty and Showik Chakraborty. He submitted that Rhea was Sushant's girlfriend and she lived with him till June 8. Maneshinde submitted-

"After they travelled abroad and came back, he developed some mental issues. He was consulting about five doctors and when it was revealed to the doctors that he was consuming ganja, they advised him not to consume narcotic substances.

On June 8, messages were exchanged between Sushant and his sister in Delhi, who advised him to take some medicines. Rhea objected to Sushant taking those drugs without doctor's prescription and they had an argument. Rhea left his home after that. There was no contact with Sushant after June 9. Rhea blocked his number. Unfortunately, he was found dead on June 14."

Maneshinde further alleged that CBI interrogated Rhea on multiple occasions and on August 28, NCB came into action. As on today, 20 persons have been arrested by NCB and out of them, 5 accused are released on bail by the Magistrate's court on the first day itself only because Section 27A was not invoked against them. Of the accused in custody, apart from Section 27A, other offences are identical, Maneshinde argued.

He submitted one of the accused Kaizan Ebrahim was granted bail as the NCB did not oppose his release. On the other hand, NCB did not seek custody of Rhea but she was remanded to judicial custody. Five other accused were released on bail on the first day itself, Maneshinde pointed out.

The NCB says various drugs have been seized from one accused Anuj Keswani and therefore says that the matter involves commercial quantity. But Rhea or Showik have no direct relation with Keswani. Keswani's only relation is with Kaizan Ebrahim who was released on bail on the first day on the consent of NCB, Maneshinde submitted.

Consumption Of Drugs And Financing

Arguing the aspect of consumption of drugs. Maneshinde submitted-

"Sushant Singh Rajput never faced any dearth of funds. Rhea was not handling his cash or accounts. He had an accountant himself. Therefore the question of financing Sushant's drug procurement does not arise.

Sushant Singh Rajput was the only consumer of drugs in the house. NCB has no case that anybody else consumed."

On the allegation of financing under Section 27A of the NDPS Act, Maneshinde said-

"There is nothing to say that Rhea financed any illicit drug purchase. Even if the prosecution case is accepted, that is only small quantity for the consumption of Sushant Singh Rajput. How can I be financing his drug purchase through him? He was in the house. All these allegations pertain to March-April, during the pandemic. Sushant was living in the house along with his servants.

"During the time when Rhea was associated with Sushant, he was the only consumer of drugs. NCB has not stated whether they have seized the mobile phone of Sushant Singh Rajput or collected any materials about his drug habits. It is not that Sushant Singh Rajput got into drugs after Rhea came into his life. His co-stars Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor appear to have given statements that Sushant Singh Rajput was consuming drugs much prior to 2019", he continued.

"What do you mean 'appear' to have given statements?", Justice Kotwal asked.

Maneshinde replied : The prosecution is leaking statements to the media. Even my messages were leaked.My point is that Sushant was in the habit of drug consumption even before Rhea came to his life. None of the accused persons are consumers of drugs.

Moreover, he argued-

"The amount of drugs, your lordships would see, 25 grams for consumption for Sushant. They(Rhea and Sushant) were not dealing to make profit. NCB alleges Rhea harboured Sushant to invoke Section 27A. How does Rhea 'harbour' Sushant when he himself is his own house? At any point of time, Sushant was under no apprehension of arrest. There is no question of 'harbouring'."

As per the case of NCB, an amount of Rs.10,000 was drawn from the account of Rhea to procure drugs for Sushant. This is cited as the basis for invoking the offence of 'financing illicit traffic' under Section 27A of the NDPS Act.

To highlight the non-applicability of Section 27A of the NDPS Act to the case, Maneshinde stated :

"Had Sushant Singh Rajput been alive today, he would have been punished under Section 27. Sushant would have then claimed the immunity under Section 64A for rehabilitation and got away with punishment for small quantities".

"If the beneficiary can only get smaller punishment, how can Rhea and Showik be punished under Section 27A", he asked.

"If Sushant is alive today, he will be punished under Sec 27 for consumption, which attracts punishment of 6 months - 1 year. If the main beneficiary gets only that punishment, how can Rhea & Showik be charged with Sec 27A which attracts 10-20 yrs punishment", he stressed.



Advocates Subodh Desai and Rajendra Rathod then made submissions for Sushant's domestic servants Dipesh Sawant and Samuel Miranda. They submitted that their clients had a master-servant relationship with Sushant and that they were acting under his orders.



Also Read : 'How Can Supply Of Drugs To Sushant Be Proved When He Is No More?' Lawyer Submits In Rhea Bail Hearing

Rhea and Showik were arrested by the Narcotics Control Beaure on the allegation that they had helped to procure drugs for film actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead in his Mumba-apartment on June 14.

The 28-year old actor was remanded to judicial custody on September 14 after NCB termed her to be "an active member of drug syndicate connected with drug supplies".

Her brother Showik was arrested earlier. They are booked for offences under Section 8(c), 20(b)(ii), 22, 27 A, 28, 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.

In her bail application before the High Court, Rhea argued that the evidence collected by the NCB showed that drugs were consumed by Sushant alone and that he was under the habit of using others to procure drugs for himself. The NCB records have nothing incriminatory against her, stated the bail application.

Rhea is accused of abetting the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was her former partner. The Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating that case on orders of the Supreme Court.

Full updates from today's hearing may be read here

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