Aryan Khan to remain in jail until October 20 as court reserves bail plea

The NCB claimed that Aryan Khan is involved in an international drug conspiracy and that he would tamper with evidence if let out on bail.
Aryan Khan being escorted by an NCB official
Aryan Khan being escorted by an NCB official
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Aryan Khan and others will remain in jail till October 20, as a special court in Mumbai reserved orders on the bail applications filed by the son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and two others in a case of alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship off Mumbai. After hearing extensive arguments of the investigating agency Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and defense lawyers on Thursday, October 14, special judge VV Patil posted the matter for orders on October 20, Wednesday.

During the hearing on Wednesday, October 13, the NCB had alleged that preliminary investigations linked Aryan to an international drugs conspiracy, and opposed his bail. However, his counsel argued that the allegation was “inherently absurd.”

As the hearing continued on Thursday, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, on behalf of the NCB, argued that WhatsApp chats and pictures were allegedly found implicating Aryan’s connection to the alleged international conspiracy. For this reason, Sections 28 and 29 (conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act were prima facie made out against Aryan. However, on Wednesday, Aryan’s counsel had countered that no banned substances were recovered from him at the time of the cruise ship raid.

“He (Aryan Khan) is not a first-time consumer. The evidence placed on record shows he is a regular consumer of contraband since the last few years,” the ASG alleged, adding that Aryan may tamper with evidence if he is let out on bail. However, Aryan’s counsel Amit Desai countered, “Without affecting the ongoing investigation, bail can still be granted. As bail doesn’t take away their right to continue their investigation.”

The ASG further said that the “innocent until proven guilty” presumption does not apply for offences under the NDPS Act. “In the NDPS Act, the presumption is of a culpable mental state, and it is for the accused to prove that he was not in possession during the trial,” LiveLaw quoted the ASG Anil Singh as saying.

“In relation to this gentleman (Aryan Khan), the department (NCB) may have crossed a legal line in an endeavour to convince the court to oppose his bail application,” Amit Desai said. He also said that conversations on chats have scope to be misunderstood. “WhatsApp chats are supposed to be private conversations. But I am told there are no messages or conversations on the mobile about the rave party.”

“These are private moments which are being investigated. You can go ahead and investigate… But this has nothing to do with illicit behaviour or illicit drug trafficking. Context is important when we deal with evidentiary value,” Bar and Bench quoted the lawyer as saying. “What is important to be borne in mind is by no stretch of the imagination is this boy involved in any kind of conversation of drug trafficking or internal drug trafficking,” he said. He further argued that WhatsApp chats are an extrajudicial confession and are a weak form of evidence.

The court is also hearing the bail pleas filed by Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Satija, Aachit Kumar, Mohak Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer and Avin Sahu. So far, 20 people have been arrested in the case.

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