Thursday, October 21, 2021

Why did Mumbai Sessions Court refuse bail? Drug case against Aryan Khan

Read Order

The Court said that Khan knew all along that Merchant was carrying charas and that it was for the consumption of both of them.

"Perusal of papers show that though nothing has been found from possession of 1, six grams of charas was found with accused 2 which was concealed in his shoes. Admittedly, accused nos. 1 (Aryan Khan) and 2 (Arbaaz Merchant) are friends since long. They traveled together and they were apprehended together at the international cruise terminal. Further, in their voluntary statements, both of them disclosed that they were possessing the said substance for their consumption and for enjoyment. Thus, all these things go to show that accused 1 was having knowledge of contraband concealed by 2 in his shoes," the order said.

The Court adverted to the Nawaz Khan judgment of the Supreme Court in which the top court had cancelled bail granted to a companion in a vehicle driven by the co-accused from whom recovery was made.

"In the present case also though, no contraband is found from 1, six grams of charas was found from 2, of which 1 was having knowledge. Thus, it can be said that it was in conscious possession of both the accused. Hence all the submissions made on behalf of applicant/accused in this regard cannot be accepted," the Court said.

"There is also reference of bulk quantity and hard drugs in this chat. Prima facie material showing that accused no. 1 was in contact with persons dealing in prohibited narcotic substances as alleged by the prosecution." 

WhatsApp chats reflected that he was indulging in illicit drug activities.

"Respondents claimed that accused no. 1 is in touch with foreign national who appear to be part of international drug trafficking and investigation in this regard is going on and respondent is tracing out criminal antecedents of said person," the Court noted.

"Further during the interrogation they disclosed names of persons who supplied contraband to them. Thus, all these facts prima facie go to show that accused acted in conspiracy with each other. It transpires that all the accused are connected in the same thread," the order said.

Section 37 will apply

Since conspiracy under Section 29 is invoked, rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act which lays down stringent for grant of bail, would apply, the Court said.

This proved to be crucial in the Court ruling against Khan.

Section 37 provides that bail cannot be granted in certain categories of cases under the Act if the public prosecutor opposes the application, unless the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of such offence and that the accused is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.

In the instant case, there was prima facie evidence that Khan was in touch drug suppliers and was involved in illicit drug trafficking and could commit such crimes in future.

"Whatsapp chats prima facie reveals that Khan is involved in illicit drug activities of narcotic substances on a regular basis. Therefore it cannot be said that Khan is not likely to commit a similar offence while on bail," the Court concluded.

Considering the evidence on record it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds for believing that applicants accused no. 1, 2 and 3 are not guilty of such offence and they are not likely to commit such offence while on bail, the Court opined.

"As discussed above, material placed on record prima-facie shows that Section 29 of NDPS Act is applicable. Therefore rigors of Section 37 of NDPS Act would apply. Therefore it is not possible to record a satisfaction at this stage that applicants have not committed any offence under the NDPS Act," the judge said while rejecting the bail plea.

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