Aryan Khan drugs case: HC says no ‘positive evidence’ to prove conspiracy

Aryan Khan drugs case: HC says no ‘positive evidence’ to prove conspiracy thumbnail

Synopsis

Khan along with his friend Arbaz Merchant and a model Munmun Dhamecha were arrested on October 3, post the raids carried out by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on a luxury cruise liner bound for Goa off the Mumbai coast. According to the arrest memo, the accused have been booked in connection with the seizure of 13 gms of cocaine, 5 gms of MD, 21 gms of charas and 22 pills of MDMA and Rs 1.33 lakh in cash.

Agencies
The court also noted that the accused weren’t subjected to a medical test so as to determine if they had consumed banned substance.

In it’s 14-page bail order, the Bombay High Court held that there was ‘no positive evidence’ against Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan to book him for conspiracy under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The court also didn’t find that the Whatsapp chats of the three accused indicate ‘a meeting of minds so as to hatch a conspiracy to commit an offence under the NDPS Act’.

Khan along with his friend Arbaz Merchant and a model Munmun Dhamecha were arrested on October 3, post the raids carried out by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on a luxury cruise liner bound for Goa off the Mumbai coast. According to the arrest memo, the accused have been booked in connection with the seizure of 13 gms of cocaine, 5 gms of MD, 21 gms of charas and 22 pills of MDMA and Rs 1.33 lakh in cash.

A single Bench of Justice Nitin Sambre had granted bail to the trio on October 28.

“ … as far as the case in hand is concerned, the fact remains that applicant nos. 1 & 2 ( Khan and Merchant respectively) were travelling together whereas applicant no. 3 ( Dhamecha) had an independent travel plan which has no connection or relation with the travel of applicants nos. 1 & 2. After having gone through the Whats-App chats extracted from applicant /accused no. 1’s phone, nothing objectionable could be noticed to suggest that applicant nos. 1 & 2 or all three applicants alongwith other accused persons in agreement have meeting of minds and have hatched conspiracy committing the offence in question,” the court held.

“There is hardly any positive evidence on record to convince this court that all the accused persons with common intention agreed to commit unlawful act. Rather the investigation carried out till this date suggests that applicant /accused nos. 1 & 2 were travelling independent of applicant/accused no. 3 and there was no meeting of minds on the aforesaid issue,” it further observed.

Dwelling further on the point of conspiracy, the court held that merely travelling on the cruise, that by itself cannot be termed as satisfying foundation for invoking provisions of Section 29 (conspiracy) against them. “..this court prima facie has not noticed any positive evidence against the applicants on the said issue,” it held.

The court also noted that the accused weren’t subjected to a medical test so as to determine if they had consumed banned substance. It held that “….case of the prosecution that applicants have admitted to commit an offence also amounts to an offence under the NDPS Act. Even if it is appreciated, the maximum punishment prescribed is not more than one year for such offence. Applicants have already suffered incarceration for almost 25 days. The Applicants were not even subjected to medical examination so as to determine whether at the relevant time, they had consumed drugs,” the order copy uploaded on Saturday on the HC portal read

On the point of confessional statement recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, the court held it isn’t binding in nature. It also observed that confessional statements can be considered by the investigating agency only for the investigation and cannot be “used as a tool for drawing an inference that applicant have committed an offence under the NDPS Act.

“…Prosecution has claimed that confessional statements given by accused persons admitting to have committed offence alleged against them, however, such confessional statements are not having any binding effect in law as the said issue is squarely covered by the Apex Court…the claim put forth by the respondent that accused persons have accepted their involvement in the crime is liable to be rejected,” it held.

The court also rejected the agency’s contention that the offence attacks provisions of section 37 and it is cognisance and non-bailable in nature. “… section 37 prima facie will not be attracted in the case in hand as this court has already observed that there is no material on record to infer that applicants have hatched conspiracy to commit the offence. That being so, at this stage it is difficult to infer that applicants are involved in an offence of commercial quantity. As such, parameters laid down under Section 37 of the NDPS act will be of hardly any consequence while considering the prayer for grant of bail of the applicants,” it concluded.

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