The counsel for actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, who has been arrested in a drugs case, told a Mumbai court on Wednesday that no such contraband was seized from his client and that he did not have any cash on him during the Narcotics Control Bureau raid aboard a ship, reported Bar and Bench.
“The 13 gms of cocaine are not from Khan and neither are the ecstasy pills, [or] mephedrone,” Amit Desai told the court. “Nothing is from him. He did not have cash. He did not have plans to consume or sell drugs.”
The court was hearing the bail petition of all the accused in the case.
Khan and seven others had been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on October 3 after a raid during a party on a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai. But Khan’s lawyers have argued that no drugs were found in his possession.
The anti-drugs agency had said that it seized 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy) and Rs 1,33,000 from the cruise ship.
Khan was initially remanded to the custody of the anti-drugs agency but was sent to judicial custody for 14 days on Thursday, October 7. The next day, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RM Nerlikar rejected the bail application moved by Khan’s lawyer. He said his court did not have the authority to hear the petition, The Hindu reported.
Then on October 11, Special Judge VV Patil took up the petition. The Narcotics Control Bureau sought a week to respond to Khan’s petition but the judge rejected this request and listed the case for hearing on Wednesday.
During Wednesday’s hearing, advocate Desai read the witness testimony and said that it did not point to any connection between Khan and the seizure of drugs. Yet, the witness testimony uses the phrase “in connection with” to implicate his client, the advocate said.
The lawyer also said that some of the drugs allegedly seized are legal in some other countries. “They [accused persons] have been in custody and have learnt their lesson…” Bar and Bench quoted him as saying. “They are not peddlers. They have suffered enough.”
Desai said that all the information in the case is related to other accused persons, according to Live Law. “They just arrest anyone and then say one is a supplier… financier and then apply conspiracy [charges],” he said.
He added: “It is a very well drafted document that tries to create an impression there is a connection between Aryan and the other accused.”
Desai also argued against treating all the petitions together, saying that the court needed to keep in mind the facts of the case and not just the larger picture.
On the other hand, the Narcotics Control Bureau, in its reply to the bail petitions, asked the court not to treat each case separately as all the accused were a part of larger chain and involved in conspiracy and committing illegal acts, according to Bar and Bench.
The agency claimed that prima facie Khan used to procure drugs from Arbaaz Merchant, who is also accused in the case, and people connected to him, reported Live Law. It said that six grams of charas was recovered from Merchant.
The Narcotics Control Bureau also claimed two people identified as Aachit Kumar and Shivraj Harijan had supplied charas to Khan and Merchant.
“From the above investigation it is thus revealed that all the said persons form a part of a larger chain, nexus and their involvement in conspiracy to commit illegal acts and violations under Section 29 [punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy under NDPS Act] cannot be ruled out,” it alleged.
On Khan’s involvement in the case, the agency alleged that he was in touch with some people abroad who seem to be a part of an international drug network.
It also contended that allegations that the accused have been falsely implicated in the case are false.
On the central agency’s claims that Khan was involved in illicit trafficking of drugs, Desai reiterated that nothing was recovered from him. He asked why Section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was not invoked against Khan if he was involved in illicit trafficking.
Section 27A of the Act deals with punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders.
“Others who were arrested, only two were booked under 27A [Vikrant Chhoker and Mohak Jaswal],” he said. “Wherever they said 27A can be invoked, they have, but not with Khan, because there is no recovery.”
Desai then read out all the charges that were invoked against Khan, including Sections 20b (production, sale, transport or use of cannabis), 27 (consumption of narcotics drugs), and 35 (presumption of culpable mental state) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. He said that Sections 28 (punishment for attempts to commit offences) and 29 (conspiracy) were added after Khan’s arrest.
Desai also noted that the punishment under Section 27 was reduced from five years to one year in 2001 as a reformative measure.
He told the court that intermediate and commercial drug recoveries were made from people Khan had no connection with.