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Mumbai Cruise Drug Bust: Aryan Khan Moves Bombay HC After NDPS Court Rejects Plea

Aryan Khan is currently lodged in Arthur Road jail following his alleged involvement in illegal drugs purchase and consumption case. Besides Khan, the bail application of two others have also been rejected by the court.

Aryan Khan, currently in jail, on Wednesday moved the HC after a special court rejected his application for bail. The HC will hear his bail plea on October 26. (File Image: PTI)

Mumbai: Aryan Khan approached the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, seeking bail in connection with the case of seizure of banned drugs aboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast after his bail plea was rejected by a special NDPS court here. His advocates have filed an appeal in the HC, challenging the lower court’s order.

The appeal is likely to be mentioned by Aryan Khan’s lawyers on Thursday before a single bench of Justice N W Sambre. The bail pleas of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, his friend Arbaaz Merchant and fashion model Munmun Dhamecha were rejected by the special court on Wednesday afternoon.

It has now been 18 days since Aryan Khan was detained by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with a drug bust on a cruise ship. The 23-year-old star kid has been lodged in Arthur Road Central Jail in Mumbai.

The special court denied bail to Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, observing that ‘on the face of it’, he was indulging in “illicit drug activities on a regular basis”. His WhatsApp chats also showed, prima facie, that he was in touch with drug peddlers, the court noted.

The special NDPS Act court in its 21-page order noted that WhatsApp chats of Aryan Khan prima facie revealed that he was “dealing in illicit drug activities on a regular basis” and therefore it cannot be said that he was not likely to commit a similar offence if released on bail.

It also held that Aryan knew that his friend and co-accused Arbaaz Merchant was in possession of drugs, and hence there was “conscious possession” even though the NCB had not found any drugs on Aryan himself.

“Considering the prima facie involvement of the applicants/accused No 1 to 3 (Aryan Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha) in commission of grave and serious offence, this is not a fit case for granting bail,” the judge said in the order.

The material placed before it by the NCB showed on the face of it that section 29 of the NDPS Act, pertaining to conspiracy, was applicable, said the court. “Therefore, it is not possible to record a satisfaction at this stage that the applicants have not committed any offence under the NDPS Act,” the order said.

Case papers and voluntary statements of Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant disclosed that they possessed drugs for consumption and enjoyment, the court noted further.

“These things go to show that accused No 1 (Aryan) was having knowledge of the contraband concealed by accused No 2 (Merchant) in his shoes,” it said.

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“Although no contraband is found in the possession of accused No 1, six grams of charas was found in possession of accused No 2 of which accused No 1 (Aryan) was having knowledge and thus it can be said that it was in conscious possession of both the accused,” the court added.

In Aryan’s WhatsApp chats, there is reference to “bulk quantity and hard drugs” and “there is prima facie material showing that accused No 1 was in contact with persons dealing in prohibited narcotic substances,” the order said.

“Prima facie it appears that there is a case of conspiracy and abetment as alleged by the prosecution,” it said.

Earlier, a magistrate’s court had rejected the accused’s bail pleas, saying only a special court can hear these matters.

Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha, among others, were arrested on October 3 for alleged conspiracy, possession, consumption, purchase and trafficking of drugs under the NDPS Act.

They are now in judicial custody. While Aryan Khan and Merchant are lodged at the Arthur Road prison, Dhamecha is lodged at the Byculla women’s prison in the city.

Meanwhile, many Bollywood celebrities have also commented on Aryan Khan’s arrest. On Tuesday, Javed Akhtar told reporters: “I’ve not seen any headline on recovery of cocaine worth 1 billion dollars at a port but the recovery of charas or ganja worth 1.30 lakh has become national news. This is the price film industry has to pay for being high profile”.

On October 14, Judge VV Patil reserved its order on Aryan Khan’s bail plea during the court’s hearing. It then scheduled the pronouncement of the order on October 20 due to Dussehra festival and the weekend.

The NCB has arrested 20 people since its officers, in disguise, raided a rave party on a cruise ship off Mumbai on its way to Goa on October 2. Aryan Khan’s lawyers have repeatedly argued that no drugs were found on him. 

ALSO READ: Attention Diverted From Lakhimpur Through Aryan Khan Case, Says Kapil Sibal

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