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Aryan Khan Drugs Case: SIT Charge Sheet Details 'Grave' Lapses in NCB Probe

The SIT has found that the investigation in the case was 'motivated' to implicate Aryan Khan.

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India
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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

On Friday, 27 May, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) gave a clean chit to Aryan Khan in connection with the Cordelia Cruise drug bust case. The SIT in its internal observations and statements to the press, has raised several doubts regarding the initial investigation by the probe agency in the case, helmed by former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede.

The SIT has filed a nearly 6000-page charge sheet in a Mumbai Court against 14 accused in this case. It did not charge six, including Aryan Khan, due to "lack of sufficient evidence." Khan had previously spent one month in prison after he was arrested in October 2021.

As per a source-based report by The Indian Express, the SIT's internal report states that the "Investigating Officer was motivated to implicate Aryan Khan in the case."

In a statement given to the Press Trust of India (PTI), Narcotics Control Bureau director general SN Pradhan also said that this was a case of "underwhelming evidence" as compared to the golden principle of gathering "overwhelming evidence" against the accused.

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'NCB Official Motivated to Implicate Aryan': Charge Sheet

The SIT charge sheet mentions that the NCB during its investigation repeatedly overlooked statements by Arbaaz Merchantt – who was also arrested in the case – where he denied any involvement of Aryan Khan.

In his first statement given on 2 October 2021, Merchantt allegedly told the investigating officer that he had kept charas inside his shoes. In the second statement before the NCB, he stated that Aryan was aware that he (Arbaaz) was occasional consumer, and had asked Arbaaz not to carry any drugs to the cruise.

The charge sheet also states that the investigating team treated WhatsApp chats as primary evidence. "Witnesses and accused were asked to join the investigation based on the contents of WhatsApp chat, treating them as if contents of WhatsApp chats are primary source of evidence," it says.

No Evidence Against Aryan Khan

The report on SIT's observations states that despite Arbaaz Merchantt's statements, "the investigating officer started looking at WhatsApp chats of Aryan without even formally seizing his mobile phone. It appears the IO was motivated to somehow implicate Aryan Khan in the drug case.”

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The SIT in a statement said it applied "the touchstone of the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt" while re-probing this case and found "grave irregularities" at every step of the investigation.

To begin with, similar sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act were put against all of the accused while rounding them off from the cruise.

In a statement given to NDTV, NCB Deputy Director General (Operations) and SIT chief Sanjay Kumar Singh said that no evidence was found against Aryan Khan to corroborate that he either consumed, procured or was in any conspiracy, including international linkages with regard to narcotics, and hence the charges against him do not stand legal scrutiny.

The SIT chief also said that no medical examination was done by the NCB team after arresting him to prove if he consumed drugs.

(With inputs from PTI, NDTV, and The Indian Express.)

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