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FPJ Legal: Opposing bail, NCB says Aryan Khan in touch with foreigner for hard drugs

11:36 PM Oct 13, 2021 | Bhavna Uchil

Mumbai: Opposing the bail application of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) told a special court on Wednesday that his WhatsApp chats showed he was in communication with a foreign national for bulk buying of hard drugs.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NCB, told the court, “If voluntary statements recorded, panchnama and WhatsApp chats are seen minutely, the court will find why we are saying that the crime needs to be investigated further and release of any accused will hamper investigation and influence witnesses.”

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Negating Aryan’s argument that he was not found with drugs and only his friend and now co-accused Arbaaz Merchantt allegedly was, Singh said that if one were accompanying another and the latter were to be found in conscious drug possession, then it was as good as one himself being found in possession. “To say that he is not found in possession will not be correct,” he said.

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He further argued that in a case of conspiracy it is not necessary that all the accused be found in possession of drugs, but when the charge of conspiracy is applied, all accused would be liable for the same punishment as the main conspirator.

Senior counsel Amit Desai appearing for Aryan told the court as per the NCB’s case, it had received information of some people carrying party drugs, but that search of Aryan found nothing. Thus, as far as Aryan is concerned, the information received by the agency was false. Even if Aryan were to admit that the charas allegedly recovered from his friend Arbaaz was for their consumption, the maximum case against him would be for consumption, Desai argued. If six gms charas was allegedly recovered from Arbaaz, he said, the charge of involvement in sale of drugs under the NDPS Act would not hold, as there is no substance for sale in terms of quantity.

Desai further said the NCB’s probe was going beyond the alleged rave party on the cruise ship and many persons who had nothing to do with the cruise nor were present on it have been arrested.

The NCB had alleged in its written response to Aryan’s bail plea that he used to procure contraband from Arbaaz and his sources. Desai said, “I have no difficulty in accepting the applicant’s (Aryan) relationship with Arbaaz. He is a friend, we grew up together. At the maximum it is a situation of consumption, the NCB may exaggerate it to peddling, trafficking, etc.” He called the agency’s reply a well-drafted document to give an impression that there was a connection between Aryan and others. About the total 20 arrests made, he said, “We don’t know who they are, the NCB has put them in the same case and now they say international drug trafficking, that some of the arrests are peddlers.”

He objected to the use of the term ‘Illicit trafficking’ by the NCB in its response to the bail application. “It is a very frightening and serious term which they dump on the applicant. They have used the term loosely and casually. He called the allegation ‘inherently absurd and false’, as it deals with the cultivation, production, manufacture, possession, sale, import and export of contraband as per the law. He pointed out that while the agency had made the allegation, they had not invoked the provision of Sec 27A that deals with it against Aryan, because, he said, they knew he was not involved in illicit trafficking. Some of the other co-accused have been charged with it, he said.

Desai said that as a country we had moved towards a reformative approach towards consumption, having reduced the punishment from five years’ imprisonment previously to one year in 2001. “They have done their term, let us not make it any worse. They know if they do it again, they will have to suffer the consequences,” he said in his concluding arguments. The NCB’s arguments will continue today.

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