Aryan Khan and two others, who were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drug raid on a luxury cruise ship last week, were denied bail by a local court in Mumbai on 8 October. Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) RM Nerlikar sent Aryan Khan to jail for two weeks pending an investigation of the case. Aryan Khan, the eldest son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested on 3 October after the NCB claimed it seized banned drugs aboard the cruise ship off the Mumbai coast. They have been booked under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
In his 15-page order released on 9 October, Nerlikar said that a magistrate’s court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain a bail application for an offence with prescribed punishment of more than three years under the NDPS act as it has to be tried by a special court. He said “this court ceases its jurisdiction to entertain the applications for bail” considering section 36A and the fact that all three were held for one crime under various provisions of the NDPS Act for which the prescribed punishment was more than three years.
The magistrate noted that NCB’s investigation has shown that allegations levelled against all the accused are in respect of consumption, sale and purchase, with intermediate quantity as well as commercial quantity of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances allegedly being seized, for which the punishment prescribed is more than three years.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh on 8 October challenged the bail pleas claiming the magistrate court had no jurisdiction to hear such applications in this matter. As lawyers of those accused argued for bail citing previous orders, the magistrate said such decisions were not useful as facts and circumstances of the present case were at hand. He also that the decisions cited by the lawyers differed from each other. “The same are related to the powers of the Sessions Court and the High Court. Considering all these aspects, the bail applications filed by the accused are not maintainable before this court. The same are required to be rejected,” he said.
A lawyer said Aryan Khan, lodged at Arthur Road prison, has approached the sessions court for bail and the hearing is likely to be held on 4 October. Meanwhile, the magistrate court on Saturday sent Achit Kumar, who the NCB has claimed used to supply drugs to Aryan Khan and Merchant. Kumar was held on the basis of the statement given by Khan and Merchant. The agency has so far arrested 19 people in connection with the drugs bust case.