After having spent almost two months in jail, a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court while granting bail to actress Rhea Chakraborty's brother Showik Chakraborty, had observed that the charge of illicit drugs financing does not apply in his case. The order was passed on December 2 and a copy of it was made available on Tuesday.
While granting him bail on December 2, special NDPS court judge G B Gurao observed that the ingredient of Section 27-A of the NDPS Act does not apply to Showik's case. Section 27-A of the NDPS Act deals with financing illicit traffic of drugs and harbouring offenders, and attracts a punishment of 10 to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
Showik Chakraborty was arrested in September this year by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under stringent provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, including Section 27-A, in a drugs case linked to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
The judge noted that stringent provisions are made for release of the accused on bail under Section 37 of the NDPS Act. As per Section 37 of the NDPS Act, no person accused of an offence punishable under Section 19 or Section 24 or Section 27-A, and also for offences involving commercial quantity, shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless the public prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release.
"Further,the court has to see that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accused is not guilty. As discussed above, the ingredient of Section 27 is absent in the case of applicant (Showik)," the court said. Earlier, Showik Chakraborty's bail was rejected twice.
He later again sought bail, citing a Supreme Court's order which says that 'confessional statements' made to the NCB officials cannot be considered as evidence. The special NDPS court found that the SC's ruling was "squarely applicable" to Showik Chakraborty's case.
"As per the judgment of the Supreme Court and the facts and circumstances, I find that this is the change of circumstances," the judge said in the order. "The ratio laid down in the above ruling is squarely applicable to the case in hand because the applicant is arrested on the basis of confessional statement of co-accused and his statement," the court said.
The NCB had alleged said that Rhea Chakraborty, who was Sushant Singh Rajput's girlfriend, and her brother used to facilitate drug deliveries and payment through credit cards, cash and other payment gateways.
The agency is conducting a probe into various drug angles linked to the death of Rajput, who was found hanging at his residence in suburban Bandra on June 14 this year. The NCB started its investigation after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which was probing money laundering charges linked to the case, shared some social media chats retrieved from Rhea Chakraborty's mobile phone, hinting at the alleged use of banned drugs.
The central agency had earlier arrested Rhea Chakraborty and some staff members of Rajput and a few others under various sections of the NDPS Act. Rhea Chakraborty and some other accused are currently out on bail.
(With inputs from PTI)