The Bombay High Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of bail applications filed by Aryan Khan in connection with the alleged seizure of drugs on a cruise till Thursday.
The matter will be heard after 2.30 pm on Thursday, the single-judge bench of Justice Nitin Sambre said.
ASG Anil Singh, appearing for the NCB, told the court that he would reply to arguments made by Mukul Rohatgi, Amit Desai, and Ali Kaashif Khan Deshmukh, who argued on behalf of the accused, on Thursday. “I will try to finish my arguments within one hour,” said ASG Singh.
Desai, appearing for Arbaaz Merchant, argued that there were no grounds for any kind of conspiracy as it was alleged. “If there are three unconnected persons coming for the same purpose, that is not a conspiracy,” he said. He reiterated the arguments made in the case of Aryan, that the WhatsApp chats were unrelated to the Mumbai cruise. On Tuesday, he had argued that the WhatsApp chats between Aryan and a friend over online poker were being “misinterpreted” by the NCB as about drugs.
Senior advocate and former AG Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of Aryan Khan, concluded his arguments on Tuesday. He termed Aryan’s arrest “arbitrary”, as the court began its bail hearing on Tuesday. Rohatgi 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 had said while citing the Centre’s plans to bring in reform measures.
A special court in Mumbai had on 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.
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.