Judge VV Patil of the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and two others. Aryan, along with Munmun Dhamecha, Arbaaz Merchantt and five others, was arrested by the NCB on October 2.
In an 18-page order, Judge Patil wrote, “Considering the evidence on record, it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds for believing that applicants accused no. 1 (Khan), 2 (Merchantt) and 3 (Dhamecha) are not guilty of such an offence and they are not likely to commit such offence while on bail.”
“Thus, considering the prima-facie involvement of the applicants/accused no. 1 to 3 (Khan, Merchantt and Dhamecha) in the commission of a grave and serious offence, this is not a fit case for granting bail,” the order went on to say.
The special NDPS court further added, “Material placed on record prima-facie shows that Section 29 of the NDPS Act is applicable. Therefore, the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act would apply. Therefore, it is not possible to record satisfaction at this stage that applicants have not committed any offence under the NDPS Act.”
The court also observed that there are “every chances of tampering with evidence” if Aryan Khan is granted bail.
“Moreover, WhatsApp chats prima-facie reveal that accused no. 1 (Aryan Khan) is dealing in illicit drug activities of narcotic substances on a regular basis. Therefore it can not be said that accused no. 1 is not likely to commit a similar offence while on bail,” the order read.
Section 29 of NDPS Act
According to Section 29 of the NDPS Act, any person who abets, or is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable under this chapter, shall, whether such offence be or be not committed in consequence of such abetment or in pursuance of such criminal conspiracy, and notwithstanding anything contained in section 116 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), be punishable with the punishment provided for the offence.
For example, if an accused drug peddler charged with Section 29 of the NDPS Act gets convicted, others suspected to be a part of the conspiracy are to be punished even if they did not play an active role in the said conspiracy.
Section 37 of NDPS Act
On the other hand, Section 37 of the NDPS Act relates to offences that are cognizable and non-bailable. This charge calls for stringent consideration before an application for bail can be allowed.
During the bail hearing, the prosecution cited a number of WhatsApp chats from Aryan Khan’s cell phone to allege that he had been in conversation with individuals “suspected to be part of an international drug racket”.
“There is ample evidence in the form of WhatsApp chats of accused no. 1 (Aryan Khan) with foreign national and unknown persons dealing in drugs. There is a reference of hard drugs and bulk quantities in WhatsApp chats which can not be meant for consumption, with unknown persons who are suspected to be part of international drug racket,” the order issued on Wednesday read.