Multiple CCTV footages show that no panch witnesses were present during the search conducted in Cordelia cruise case accused Aachit Kumar’s home, contrary to the claims of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in its panchanama that two panch witnesses were present during the procedure, Kumar’s advocate told a special court while arguing for the 22-year-old’s release on bail.
The presence of panchas is essential so that a drug recovery can be corroborated by the independent witnesses and that individuals are not falsely implicated.
The NCB claimed after Aachit’s arrest that his name was revealed by Aryan and Arbaaz in their voluntary statements to it and that they found 2.6 gm of Ganja from his residence. The agency called him a supplier of ganja to the two.
As per the NCB’s panchanama, advocate Thool said the procedure starts on Oct 5 at 2.50 pm and two panchas are present when some contraband is recovered. Thereafter, the NCB officers issue a notice for Aachit to appear before them the next day.
The panchanama also shows that Aachit is present when the procedure is conducted.
Advocate Thool said Aachit’s residential society is covered with CCTV cameras and it shows that the team of five NCB officers entered and there were no panchas with the team.
At 5 pm, he said three officers leave with Aachit while his father goes along and only thereafter, two panchas appear. Two NCB officers stayed back, he pointed out.
The advocate argued, “They (panchas) come into the house, sign and leave in 25 minutes.”
He said that though it is mentioned in the panchanama that the panch witness searched the NCB officers to ensure that there is no drug with them, that the search was not done.
He also questioned, “CCTV footage belie the entire panchanama. Can this panchanama be relied upon and veracity be attached to it?” He said it is rife with falsities and concoctions and called it a fabricated document. “There is CCTV footage. They are caught on camera,” he said.
He said the word ‘peddler’ is being thrown around at Aachit. He said the word has ramifications and can destroy a 22-year-old boy's career. His parents are service going people and he studied in a reputed IB school, advocate Thool told the court. Since three years Aachit has been studying in London. He is only here because of the lockdown, he said. He further asked, “Why would a student studying in one of the best colleges in the world engage in peddling 2.6 gm of drugs?”
The NCB will be arguing against the bail plea today.
Court extends judicial custody of Aryan Khan, 7 others till Oct 30
A special court designated under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on Thursday extended the judicial custody of Aryan Khan and seven other co-accused in the Cordelia cruise drugs case till Oct 30. Among them is his friend Arbaaz Merchantt and model Munmun Dhamecha.