'Chats Reveal Aryan Khan's Involvement in Illicit Drug Activities': Court
Aryan Khan, Munmun Dhamecha, and Arbaaz Merchantt's bail pleas were denied by a special NDPS court on Wednesday.
A special NDPS court of Judge VV Patil denied the bail pleas of Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchantt, and Munmun Dhamecha in connection to the Mumbai cruise ship drugs case. The court observed that WhatsApp chats prima facie reveal that Aryan Khan is allegedly involved in ‘illicit drug activities on a regular basis’.
'Aryan's WhatsApp Chats Have Prima Facie Evidence of Illicit Drug Activities': Court
The ASG, representing the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) argued that the WhatsApp chats reflected Aryan’s involvement in illicit activities for narcotic substances despite there being no criminal antecedent.
The Court observed, "Moreover, WhatsApp chats prima facie reveals accused Aryan Khan is dealing in illicit drug activities for narcotic substances on regular basis. Therefore, it cannot be said that Khan is not likely to commit similar offence while on bail.”
'Prima Facie There Appears to be a Case of Conspiracy': Court
The special court also said that the material placed on record allegedly reveals a ‘nexus’ between Aryan Khan and drug peddlers. The Court noted that no drugs or contraband were found from Aryan Khan during NCB’s raid on the cruise ship. Six grams of charas were allegedly found with Arbaaz Merchantt, a co-accused in the case.
The Court noted, “In their voluntary statements, both of them (Aryan and Arbaaz) disclosed that they were possessing the said substance for their consumption and for enjoyment. Thus, all these things go to show that Aryan Khan was having knowledge of contraband concealed by 2 (Arbaaz) in his shoes."
Both Arbaaz and Aryan’s lawyers argued that the WhatsApp chats can’t be referred to since there is no mention of seizure of phones in the panchnama. The Court responded that the accused willingly submitted their phones to the NCB.
'NDPS Section 29 (Conspiracy) Applicable': Special Court on Mumbai Drugs Case
The Court further noted that Section 29 (conspiracy) of NDPS is applicable, saying that no accused can be seen in isolation.
“Aspect of proving the conspiracy which deals with depth is required to be considered at the time of trial. But prima facie it appears that there is case if conspiracy and abetment as alleged by prosecution. Hence section 29 is applicable. Therefore, rigors of section 37 of the NDPS Act would apply.”
The NCB claimed that Aryan Khan is in contact with foreign nationals and the agency is investigating the same. The Court held the ASG’s argument that releasing the accused Aryan Khan on bail may ‘hamper the investigation’.
The Court noted, “Accused No. 1 (Aryan Khan) is the only person who could disclose details of said persons which are in the exclusive knowledge of accused no. 1. In such circumstances, if applicant/accused no. 1 is released on bail, there are every chances of tampering of evidence as argued by Ld. ASG.”
Aryan Khan’s counsel has already approached the High Court in the matter, and his bail application is likely to be mentioned tomorrow. In an earlier hearing, Aryan Khan’s lawyers argued that there was no contraband found on their client and advocate Amit Desai had even argued that Aryan wasn’t on the ship when the raid started.
(With inputs from Live Law)
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