The courtroom at the historic Esplanade court in Mumbai witnessed high-pitched arguments for over three hours. While a battery of high-profile lawyers exploited all the elbow room available in the law books to deny custody of SRK's 23-year old son Aryan Khan to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the arguments put forth by the ASG and the bland seizures made have put paid to all their efforts.
The Mumbai court passed the order at around 6:15 in the evening of Monday. "The accused are remanded to NCB custody till Oct7, 2021," the order reads.
The granting of custody then had clearly shown that the defending counsels failed to convince the court of law.
While the counsel of SRK's son, Satish Maneshinde betted big on non-seizure of any contrabands from Aryan Khan while seeking rejection of his custody plea, the prosecution brought in the circumstantial plot revolving around SRK' son to drive home his involvement and sought his custody for further investigation.
As per Aryan Khan's counsel Maneshinde, "The panchnama doesn't indicate any seizure from Aryan, except the mobile phone. His friend was arrested because he had 6 gms of charas, which is no way connected to Aryan."
The defendant counsel stretching his argument said, "Chats on phone without corroboration has no legal sanctity. Hence, further custody is not required."
ASG quoting an Apex court judgement said, "Just because he was not found in possession doesn't make him innocent."
The defendant's counsel invoking the judgement said, "The Apex court granted custody in a case where contrabands were seized from the car."
ASG Anil Singh then retorted, "So what? the narcotic substances seized here from the ship."
Maneshinde then twisted the words by arguing, "The ship is not Aryan Khan's. Why you didn't arrest 1000 others in the Ship?" The counsel argued that Aryan was invited.
At this ASG's point-blank reply was do you have any document or anything else to show Aryan was invited? During NCB operation Aryan was found in the custody of the persons from whom contrabands were seized, the ASG argued.
Prosecution's Top Argument
Beginning the argument seeking Aryan Khan and 7 others' custody, ASG Anil Singh said, "Incriminating material found in WhatsApp chats with drug peddlers. Raids are continuing. The material seized hints at international drug trafficking."
Defendant's counsel Maneshinde then argued, "The chats nowhere indicates any involvement. If there are chats which discuss drugs, it will not indicate any drug trafficking." He then went on to say, " The provisions invoked in the case are 8(c), 20(b), 27, are no embargo for bail application under Section 37 NDPS."
ASG then argued, " Investigation is required on the modes of payment, the codes used in chats. Cross-examination of the accused is essential. The international transactions need to be investigated. Therefore, we seek the custody."
ASG quoted three judgements of Bombay HC, including Rhea Chakraborty's case, that had ruled all NDPS offences as non-bailable.
Whatsapp Chats In Court
Requesting the court to read the chats, ASG said, "The chats are about bulk purchase. And the chats involve unknown persons. And these need to be investigated."
At this point, Magistrate RM Nerlikar asked, What do you want to prove with this?
ASG replied, "The chats show the existence of connection and regular contacts."
The Fine Print
Salient Points of Magistrate's Order:
- The co-accused possess intermediate contraband. The accused accompanied them. An investigation is of prime importance. It will be essential for prosecution and accused to prove is innocent.
- The order said all NDPS offenses are non-bailable.
- But the question here is NCB custody or judicial custody?
- NCB custody was granted. Prosecution argued that incriminating material was found, and NCB was conducting fresh raids. The incriminating material coupled with fresh arrests need to be corroborated. The other accused were arrested, and new facts need to be verified.
Therefore, custody is granted till Oct 7, 2021. (NCB has sought custody till Oct 11, 2021)