Aryan Khan, seven others remanded in judicial custody after court rejects NCB's plea for further custody
A Mumbai court sent Aryan Khan, son of Shah Rukh Khan, and seven others in 14-day judicial custody in connection with the alleged seizure of banned drugs from a cruise ship off Mumbai coast
A Mumbai court on Thursday sent Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, and seven others in 14-day judicial custody in connection with the alleged seizure of banned drugs from a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.
Their bail applications will be heard on Friday, the court said.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had sought an extension of their NCB custody, but the request was not granted.
Aryan Khan, Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant were arrested by the NCB on October 3 following a raid on a Goa-bound ship, while the other five were arrested the next day.
They were produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar at the end of their earlier remand. The court sent them in judicial custody even as the probe agency sought extension of remand till October 11.
"No custodial interrogation is required as sufficient time and opportunity was granted to NCB for investigation. Hence, they are remanded to judicial custody," the Court ordered.
Remanding the accused to NCB custody without cogent reasons would be violation of liberty, the Court added while proceeding to remand the accused to judicial custody.
The NCB had sought Khan's custody on the ground that more persons might be arrested and they will have to be confronted with Khan and other accused who are already in custody.
Special Public Prosecutor Advait Sethna, appearing for the NCB, submitted on Thursday that the Khan and the seven accused remanded along with him have to be confronted with Achit Kumar and the foreign national, as per a Bar & Bench report.
"It is humbly prayed for short custody till October 11. Confrontation of present 8 respondents with Aachit Kumar and intercepted foreign national is essential for the investigation," Sethna said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing the NCB also reiterated the necessity for further custody saying that Khan and others have to be confronted with the new arrests.
"Considering the allegations and the facts, the accused is required because after the last date, till today, the further development is that we have intercepted organizers and other persons," Singh said.
Further on the basis of enquiry, considering the seriousness of the crime, custody is required, he added.
"Investigation is at an imminent stage and the above respondents are required to be confronted," he said.
The ASG also said that the NCB cannot segregate the accused as of now and custody of all eight are required.
"I do not want to segregate one person from another. I want to investigate them together and we are an agency and we will follow due process," he said.
Advocate Satish Maneshinde, appearing for Aryan Khan, said that no substantial development has taken place with regard to the case.
"On the first day, I readily agreed for one more day of remand, thinking there will be some development. Apart from some more arrests, nothing more has happened," he submitted.
He also said that he has only been questioned about his stay abroad and nothing else.
"As far interrogation my that has taken place, it was connected to my stay abroad. Nothing else has been questioned," Maneshinde said.
He also proceeded to explain the sequence of events that transpired leading upoto Aryan Khan's arrest.
"I have a friend, Prateek, who introduced me to someone who was in touch with the organizers. He said I will be invited as VVIP. Only with that intention to add colour to the cruise, I went. There were 1,300 people and they have arrested only 17," he said.
He also said that there chat between him and Prateek which will give a clearer picture.
"There are chats between me and Prateek ...Prateek is also a friend of Arbaaz. So he invited Arbaaz... Based on the aforesaid events, I reached the gate where Arbaaz was also there. Before we could go to the ship, NCB asked us questions. When we started from the ship, they asked questions if I took drugs and searched my bags and my person. They found nothing," Maneshinde contended.
"They (then) took my mobile instrument and then took me to the NCB office. Officers interrogated me and took me under arrest," he added.
Khan maintained that he has no connection whatsoever with the detained foreign national or the organisers of the party.
"I have no connection to any of the organizers. I do not deny my friendship with Arbaaz but I am not connected with his activities. He himself says he came on his own," it was argued.
Maneshinde further submitted that the only person they have to confront Khan with is Aachit Kumar but that can be done anytime.
"That can be done even after I am granted bail. They have not interrogated me for two nights. Why is custodial interrogation required now," Maneshinde demanded.
He also underscored that no drugs were recovered from him and he had not tampered with any evidence.
"They keep saying that they have to reach the 'main accused.' He (Aryan) cannot be held hostage till they find the main accused," Maneshinde said.
In his rejoinder arguments, the ASG said that as per Supreme Court, recovery is not what is important but it is the knowledge that counts.
He also responded to the contention that investigation has not progressed.
"You have argued saying that we have not done anything ...Yesterday we arrested Achit Kumar, today we arrested a foreign national then today apprehended another person," ASG said.
Advocate Ashwin Thool, appearing for Aachit Kumar, disputed certain factual claims made by NCB.
"It is unfortunate that NCB tends to lie to the court. They are saying I was arrested on October 6, the time is 7. In reality is he was picked up at 2 pm on October 5th," he said.
He also added that if remand is granted, then the (illegal) arrest gets regularized.
"Somewhere this illegality needs to stop. Ask the officer to tell when he was detained and if he says October 6, I am willing to place affidavit that he is lying," Thool said.
The Magistrate then demanded why they have not challenged the detention if it is illegal.
"There are over-zealous officers.. once there is Habeas Corpus, but once custody is granted, then arrest is regularised. And we all know it takes time for matters to list," Thool replied.
"The scheme (under Code of Criminal Procedure) is obvious and requires to be protected. The accused is required to be produced within 24 hours. For two days I was in custody. They needed to confront me with other accused. I was with them for 2 days, what have they done?" demanded Thool.
Sethna, in turn shot back by saying that Thool is lying.
"I have heard lies lies lies from my learned friend. We have seen such allegations against the bureau, but milord is aware and has been passing appropriate orders," Sethna said.
"He is merely saying that he was detained before," the judge responded to Sethna.
"But then the zealous officers he is talking about, these officers have not seen sun, moon and have worked day and night to investigate. Drug abuse is like a malignant tumor that has been spreading.. and he is saying only 2.6 gms," Sethna said.
The Court eventually granted NCB custody of Kumar till October 9.
The plea for custody of Khan and seven others was, however, rejected.
Published: 07 Oct 2021, 7:39 PM