The Bombay High Court will continue to hear the of bail petitions filed by Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, today afternoon, in connection with their arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on October 3, after the agency busted a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai and seized several banned narcotics on October 2.
The Bombay High Court had adjourned the hearing yesterday evening, till today afternoon. Former Attorney General of India (AGI) Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, along with his existing legal counsel comprising Satish Manishinde and Amit Desai.
Rohatgi, who recently slammed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and compared the agency to "an Ostrich with head buried in the sand", told the court on Tuesday that the drugs-on-cruise case has attracted 'unwanted media attention', since it involves Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan. He closed his arguments by saying that the “case is for bail".
Here are five arguments made by the former AG, which added some new light on the ongoing case.
‘Neither possession nor consumption was proven’
“Out of the twin conditions for bail, Section 37 does not apply because 27A has no application. Section 64A has immunity from prosecution if you are prosecuted under Sec 27 and you go to rehab." Mukul further questioned Aryan’s time in jail for the last 20 days mentioning that neither possession nor consumption was proven.
“I am arguing a case that is actually not there against me. My case is not of possession or consumption. In the US and some parts of the world, cannabis is legal. With this compendium of facts, what I am saying is that there is no case. There is no consumption, no possession... Why this boy has been sent 20 days in jail?" he said.
‘No complaint against NCB or Sameer Wankhede’
The NCB and Wankhede on Monday had said the extortion allegations were part of vendetta by a political leader whose son-in-law had been arrested by the NCB in the past. In its reply, NCB stated that bail should be rejected to Aryan Khan on those grounds, alone.
"Aryan has no complaints whatsoever against any officer of the NCB, including its zonal director Sameer Wankhede. Aryan is not concerned with these unsavoury controversies. He completely denies any relation to this," senior counsel Rohatgi told the court. "But today, the NCB is putting this on Aryan Khan and saying he is tampering with witnesses. This is affecting my client's case," Rohatgi argued.
‘WhatsApp chats between Aryan Khan and another accused in the case are about Online Poker and not drugs!’
Aryan Khan’s legal counsel stated that the conversation between Aryan Khan and Achit Kumar, another accused person who was arrested by the NCB later, was not about drugs, but about online poker. “There is some conversation about some winnings that is now being shown as a transaction,” Desai stated. Adding further, Rohatgi said, “Financing is a very defined use of a phrase. But here there is no financing, even if there are some chats, it is more than a year old. There was an old case of rummy. So, the Supreme Court has said it is a game of skill. Even horse racing is considered a game of skill, as one has to study the horses”.
‘Treat him as victim and not as accused’
Mukul Rohatgi, the legal counsel for Aryan Khan contended that the "legislative intent" behind the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, under which Aryan Khan and others, were arrested was reformation in cases involving small quantities of drugs. The Act intends that young persons be treated as victims and not as accused, he added.
Aryan Khan is a "young boy with no prior antecedents," said.
"Section 64A of the Act provides immunity to those persons who have been accused of possessing small quantities. If these persons are agreeable to be sent to rehab then that should be allowed. Aryan's case is not even of possession or consumption," he said, adding he cannot be held responsible for some other person's alleged possession of drugs.
‘Case being blown out of propotion’
Rohatgi argued that the 23-year-old has been wrongly arrested and kept in jail for over 20 days said.
The case was being blown out of proportions by some people who have vested interests and the media was paying attention to it because of some unsavoury controversies, otherwise it was a simple case, he added.
"There is no evidence of consumption, no recovery of drugs and absolutely no evidence to show his participation in this so-called conspiracy and abetment as alleged by the NCB," Rohatgi said.
(With Inputs From PTI)