The Bombay High Court Tuesday adjourned the bail plea of Aryan Khan, arrested in the cruise drug seizure case, to Wednesday.
The court will resume hearing Aryan’s bail plea at 2.30 pm on Wednesday. This means that actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son will have to spend another night at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where he has been lodged for a little over two weeks.
A special court in Mumbai last Wednesday refused to grant bail to Aryan Khan and two others in connection with the seizure of drugs. Following this, Aryan moved a bail application in the High Court against the NDPS court order on his bail rejection.
Earlier, former Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Aryan Khan, argued that the Starkid was just a guest and not a customer on the Goa-bound cruise from where the NCB nabbed him following a raid.
Rohatgi, who was pleading before Justice Nitin Sambre of the Bombay High Court, said neither there was any recovery of drugs from Aryan Khan, nor any medical test conducted or consumption of drugs found. So there was no need to arrest him. “No recovery, no consumption, I submit I am wrongly arrested,” Rohatgi said while arguing for Aryan.
Also, there was no material to show that Aryan financed illicit trafficking of drugs, the former AG added. “Penalty is for consumption or carrying it. I don’t have it, possession of somebody else can’t be my possession. Unless it is in my knowledge.”
Young Aryan should be sent for rehabilitation and not jail, Rohatgi further pleaded while citing the Centre’s plans to bring in reform measures.
“He is a young boy with no (criminal) antecedents. The law provides that if someone is found consuming drugs, one has to be taken to rehab. The approach is not to keep people in jails. The social justice ministry is talking about reforms,” the former AG argued.
The NCB, in its affidavit, said attempts are being made to tamper with the ongoing investigation with a malafide intention to derail the probe into the case. “This is evident from the contents of a purported affidavit of one Prabhakar Sail,” the agency said, referring to the allegations of extortion attempt made by Sail, an independent witness in the case.
The affidavit also referred to Pooja Dadlani and said: “this lady appears to have influenced panch witnesses when the investigation is ongoing”. The NCB said the bail plea was “misconceived and ill-conceived”.
It said the probe into the case so far has revealed Aryan Khan’s role in illicit procurement, transportation, and consumption of drugs. The agency said prima facie investigation has revealed that Aryan Khan used to procure drugs from his friend Arbaaz Merchant, also an accused in the case.
“The applicant (Aryan Khan) was in touch with some persons abroad who appear to be part of an international drug network for illicit procurement of drugs,” it said. The affidavit further said even though there has been no recovery from Aryan Khan, he has “participated in the conspiracy”. “Prima facie investigation has revealed that this application is not just a mere consumer of drugs as sought to be made out by him,” it said.
The applicant has not made out any case for enlargement of bail, prima facie, and/or otherwise, the NCB said. “The role of this applicant (Aryan Khan) in the commission of grave and serious offences under the NDPS Act including illicit drug trafficking is apparent considering the nexus and connection of this applicant with the other accused in the case,” the affidavit said.
It added that there has been the recovery of an intermediate quantity of drugs from the other accused in the case and hence, the case of Aryan Khan cannot be looked at in isolation.
“The ingredients of conspiracy are clear and evident,” the affidavit said, adding that in such cases the quantum of recovery of drugs from an individual accused becomes inconsequential. The NCB also said it is still probing the case and a charge sheet needs to be filed. It said the agency requires sufficient time to properly investigate the international linkages so as to approach the foreign agency concerned through proper channel, which would entail some more time.
Meanwhile, Aryan Khan’s advocates submitted to the HC an additional note stating that he has nothing to do with the allegations and counter-allegations that are being circulated between the NCB’s zonal director Wankhede and certain political personalities. “The applicant (Aryan Khan) does not make any allegations against any individual in the prosecution department,” the note said.
It further said Aryan Khan has no connection with Prabhakar Sail, an independent witness in the case, who has made allegations of extortion attempts against Wankhede and others.