The arrest of Aryan Khan and at least two others by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) violated constitutional provisions and the allegations of international trafficking were “absurd and false,” lawyers told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. ‘defendant, making holes in the agency’s arguments in the high-profile case.
The high court heard bail requests from actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, all of whom were arrested by the drug agency on October 3 after a cruise ship raid and charged under strict sections of the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act.
They were all in custody for 23 days, through hearings, delays and denials on bail by two other courts. The pace of the proceedings, given the nature of the allegations, was criticized by several legal experts. Wednesday was the second day of the bail proceedings in the high court before Justice Nitin Sambre and the hearing will continue on Thursday.
Senior attorney Amit Desai, who represented Merchant, rejected the agency’s claims that Aryan’s WhatsApp conversations revealed that he was in contact with a person involved in an international drug union. “Someone is talking to someone, they call it international drug trafficking. Absurd and false, “Desai said, arguing that the arrests were illegal.
He stressed that in the case of minor offenses, the established legal position was that arrest was only allowed in exceptional cases. “Bail is the rule and prison is the exception, now arrest is the rule and bail is the exception,” Desai said.
Senior attorney Mukul Rohatgi, who filed most of his statements in favor of Aryan on Tuesday, argued that the arrest was a direct violation of constitutional provisions as the arrest note did not provide the “true and correct reasons” . He said the arrest note mentioned the recovery but did not specify by whom it was made.
“The law requires you to provide true and correct reasons for the arrest. Under section 50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, there is an obligation to inform a person of the reason for his arrest, ”Rohatgi said on Wednesday.
Aryan and the others were arrested by NCB’s Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede on 3 October after a raid on a rave party on the cruise ship Cordelia off Mumbai. Wankhede said 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of Charas, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy) and ?1.33 lakh in cash was recovered from the ship. The 23-year-old was charged with alleged consumption and conspiracy under the NDPS law.
Experts wondered if the protocol was breached after private individuals were seen present during the raid and apparently assisting NCB officials, despite not being part of any law enforcement agency. They also asked why only a handful of the 1,300 people on the ship were charged under the NDPS Act, questions that grew louder after two other cruise arresters were released on bail on Tuesday.
Aryan, Merchant and Dhamecha’s bail requests were rejected by the court on 20 October. All three then turned to the High Court, which began hearing their petitions on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Desai said Aryan, Merchant and Dhamecha were arrested mainly for alleged detention and consumption. There was no conspiracy and therefore the first pre-trial detention did not mention any conspiracy charges.
He pointed out that unlike others whose statements mention the sale and purchase of contraband material, the trader’s statement only mentioned consumption, but the agency slapped the charge of conspiracy and complicity under section 29 of the NDPS Act. It is for this reason alone that the lower court rejected the bail request, he said.
He said the NDPS Special Court granted bail to two people arrested by the NCB for drug use. He said the NCB’s response in the case of the two – Avin Sahu and Manish Rajgaria – was the same.
He also pointed out that when the arrested people’s cell phones were seized, no panchnamas were registered and said NCB officials said the accused voluntarily handed over their cell phones. “But, in the event of a seizure of a personal device, there must be a memorandum to ascertain its veracity,” he said.
Attorney Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh, representing Dhamecha, said she was invited to the vacation cruise by a crew member and was promised payment. “Immediately after entering the ship, the raid took place and there were already two people present in the room (reserved for her),” said Deshmukh.
Stressing that it was precisely the case of the NCB that 5 grams of charas were found in the room and that his person did not produce anything, the lawyer said that the seizure report was silent on the exact place where the material was found. of contraband. “They say it was found on the cruise, but nothing is mentioned about who brought it, etc.,” Deshmukh said.
Deshmukh said Dhamecha came from a small town and was on a cruise on business. She insisted that there were over 1,300 other people aboard the ship and if she was arrested on suspicion alone then everyone else should have been arrested.