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Aryan part of drugs chain, says NCB, his lawyer calls charge false, absurd
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Aryan part of drugs chain, says NCB, his lawyer calls charge false, absurd

Aryan part of drugs chain, says NCB, his lawyer calls charge false, absurd

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Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan's son Aryan Khan (PTI)
MUMBAI: It is “inherently absurd and false” for NCB to dump an offence of ‘illicit drug trafficking’ on Aryan Khan (23), son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, as a reason to deny him bail, said his lead counsel Amit Desai on Wednesday, adding the agency, which is aware of the larger role it has, “should be cautious in bandying about a serious legal term of ‘illicit trafficking’ casually to oppose a bail plea.”
Desai said Section 27A is the only offence for illicit trafficking under the NDPS Act and it must be noted that NCB rightly never invoked it against Khan, as it has no case. He was arrested only for alleged consumption of small quantities, with no recovery of drugs or money from him and hence no case of either use, sale or purchase of any drugs, and he was not arrested even for abetment or conspiracy, he said. Even consumption there is no proof of, as it was his friend Arbaaz Merchant who in the NCB panchanama of October 2 is recorded as speaking of consuming charas.
But opposing bail pleas of Khan, Arbaaz (26) and Munmun Dhamecha (28), which were heard on Tuesday, NCB said, “There’s enough material in form of WhatsApp chats, pictures etc to show Khan was an active part of illicit drug chain with other co-accused, hence abetment and conspiracy apply and so do rigours of not granting bail under NDPS Act.” “NCB has material to show that Khan was in touch with some persons abroad who appear to be a part of an international drug network for illicit procurement of drugs, and probe is on to find the person,” said additional solicitor general Anil Singh with Advait Sethna, special public prosecutor for the agency.
Khan ought to be granted bail as the maximum punishment attracted is a year’s imprisonment, said Desai, who appeared with Satish Maneshinde at the physical hearing before the special NDPS judge at sessions court, VV Patil. He pointed how the NDPS Act was amended to reduce punishment for consumption and said “they aren’t peddlers, racketeers or drug traffickers.” “Let’s not make it worse for youngsters. They have suffered enough. They have been in custody since October 3. They’ve learnt their lesson. Let’s not keep them behind bars and deny them bail,” said Desai.
The heart of the NCB case is that all accused are “inextricably connected” with each other in a conspiracy and that Khan used to purchase charas from Merchant. Desai said NCB has made the allegation of an international drug chain, but where is the question of any connection of Khan with other accused or of a conspiracy? In fact, Section 29 for conspiracy was rightly not even invoked against Khan in the arrest memo, but now the NCB reply is based on “conspiracy” though the specific information may have been of a “rave party” on a cruise, “but it doesn’t give them a right to pick up people otherwise unconnected and from whom zero recovery of contraband is there or to hold on to their custody when not required,” he said.
Advocate Taraq Sayed for Merchant argued that even if NCB is right in saying 6 gm charas was recovered from him, it’s a small quantity, and the law provides for immunity from prosecution for consumption. Advocate Ali Kaashif Khan for Munmun Dhamecha said she was invited on board to “add glamour as she’s a model”. He also denied the alleged 5 grams of hash found in her cabin was from her. The NCB uses “a very frightening term” like illicit trafficking and “just dumps it on Aryan Khan,” said Desai.
ASG Anil Singh for NCB said the agency was “responsible about its role” and the “entire nation is concerned with the issue of youngsters consuming drugs.” He will continue his submissions on Thursday, after which the bail pleas will be decided.
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