After several twists and turns in the case, Aryan Khan and 2 others got bail in the ongoing drugs-on-cruise case. The conditions for the bail for all 3 accused will be announced tomorrow. Aryan Khan and co-accused Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant had appeared before the Bombay High Court after the trio’s bail was rejected earlier on October 20 by the Special NDPS court.
After the judgment was announced, Attorney General Mukhul Rohatgi was quoted by news reports saying, “Bombay High Court has granted bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha after hearing the arguments for three days. The detailed order will be given tomorrow. Hopefully, they all will come out of the jail by tomorrow or Saturday.”
After his arrest on October 3, 23-year-old Aryan Khan and his prospect of bail have been the classic case of ‘will he-won’t he’ for the Indian media. On October 3, anti-drugs agency NCB arrested Aryan Khan and other co-accused from a Goa-bound cruise ship on the grounds of drug trafficking and consumption.
The case was soon transferred to a special NDPS Court in Mumbai where Aryan Khan and co-accused were rejected their bail. The case was then transferred to a special Mumbai High Court where the accused and their representative lawyers were fighting a case of bail on the basis of no consumption or possession. Meanwhile NCB fought the case on the grounds of a larger conspiracy that NCB alleged Aryan to be a part of.
The Facts of the Matter
The Bombay High Court granted bail to Aryan Khan, the 23-year-old son of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan. Aryan was the prime accused in the ongoing drugs-on-cruise case. The bail plea was allowed by Justice Nitin Sambre who also allowed the bail plea of co-accused Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha.
What Did Aryan Khan’s Lawyer Argued?
Justice Nitin Sambre heard Aryan Khan’s lawyer Senior Advocate and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi.
- Aryan’s Arrest Was Violation of Article 22
Advocate Rohatgi argued that Aryan’s arrest was the violation of Article 22 of the Indian Constitution. The Article 22 states that “no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.”
According to Advocate Rohatgi, Aryan was not informed about the correct grounds of his arrest and hence, Article 22 was in violation. Further, Aryan Khan also denied allegations regarding ‘conscious possession’ of contraband that was recovered from his friend Arbaaz.
- WhatsApp Messages Served No ‘Evidentiary Value’
Meanwhile, on his alleged connection with a drug peddler Aachit Kumar, Rohatgi claimed that Aachit was arrested with 2.4 grams of drugs and dealers don’t move around with such small quantity of drug.
On the alleged WhatsApp messages that NCB had been arguing on the basis of, Advocate Rohatgi argued that the messages don’t serve an “evidentiary value” and a person’s liberty can’t be deprived on the basis of the messages.
The advocate also argued that the whole case made by the NCB relies on “voluntary statements” that are inadmissible in the court of law.
What Did the NCB Argue?
The NCB’s case was represented by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh. ASG Singh claimed that the WhatsApp messages had reference of drugs of bulk quantity. Further, the WhatsApp chats indicated that Aryan was not the first-time consumer of drugs at the Goa-bound cruise.
- Lawyers Were Informed 4 Hours Before Arrest
On the argument of an illegal arrest and the charges of conspiracy were not mentioned in the arrest memo, the ASG had another argument. The ASG contended that all the lawyers of the accused in the matter were told within 4 hours after the arrest on the matter.
- ‘Conspiracy Difficult to Prove’, NCB Argues
The ASG further argued on the matter of alleged conspiracy that Aryan was involved in. “Conspiracy is difficult to prove. Only the conspirators know how they conspired. That is how I’ve shown WhatsApp chats. I leave it to the consciousness of the court to decide based on material on record,” the ASG argued, as quoted by Indian Express.