Along with Aryan Khan, co accused Arbaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha have also been granted bail by the Bombay High Court.

Aryan Khan at courtImage Courtesy: PTI
news Court Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 17:09

Aryan Khan has been granted bail by the Bombay High court in the cruise ship drugs case. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested Aryan and others on October 3 after a raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast where the NCB allegedly recovered narcotic drugs. The single-judge Justice Nitin Sambre also granted bail to two others accused in the case--Arbaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha. 

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Aryan Khan, had argued that the arrest was a direct infringement of constitutional provisions as the arrest memo did not give the "true and correct grounds". Addressing the media, Mukul Rohatgi said, “The Bombay High Court has granted bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha after hearing the arguments for 3 days. The detailed order will be given tomorrow and the accused are expected to be released after that.”

Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Merchant, pointed out that the special court for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on Tuesday granted bail to two other accused in the case -- Manish Rajgaria and Avin Sahu. "The allegations against them are also the same. In fact there was recovery of 2.6 grams of ganja (cannabis) from one of the accused and the second had said that he had consumed," Desai said. "If not on (the ground of) parity but on liberty these boys (Aryan Khan and Merchant) should be granted bail...Release them on bail with strict conditions," Desai argued.

The NCB's arrest memo of October 3 contained only sections 20(B) and 27 of the NDPS Act which relate to consumption and possession of drugs, and "there is no mention of sections 28 and 29 pertaining to abetment and conspiracy," advocate Desai said.

"So as per the NCB's assessment of material based on recovery at that time...these three individuals were doing individual acts of consumption and possession," Desai said, claiming further that to date the charge of conspiracy has not been officially invoked against the trio.

"The magistrate on October 3 was misled by the NCB to believe that a conspiracy charge was also invoked while seeking their remand," he had said.

Merchant's alleged statement that he had on him six grams of charas for consumption along with Aryan was inadmissible as evidence, and the NCB never sent them for medical examination, the lawyer said.

The high court asked if there was any connection between the two co-accused who have got bail, and Aryan Khan and Merchant. Desai said there was absolutely no connection.

"There are no WhatsApp chats between these three accused with the other accused. The WhatsApp chats being relied upon by the NCB are old and have no connection with this case," the lawyer added.

These alleged WhatsApp chats of Aryan and others were provided to the media but were not part of court records, he said, questioning their veracity. Justice Sambre said the United Kingdom has done away with the need to supply a certificate to prove the authenticity of electronic evidence, but the same is needed in India.

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