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Published On: Wed, Sep 30th, 2020

Rhea charged for non-disclosure of Sushant’s drug habit: NCB

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rehaMUMBAI: Rhea’s lawyer Maneshinde contended: “If Sushant was alive today, he will be punished under Section 27 for 6 months to 1 year only. So how can Rhea and Showik be charged under Section 27A which attracts 10 to 20 yrs punishment?”
The Bombay High Court has reserved its order on the bail pleas of Rhea Chakraborty, Showik Chakraborty and others.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has booked Rhea Chakraborty and four others under section 27(A) of the NDPS Act for not disclosing about the late Sushant’s habit of drug consumption, which, as per the Act, amounts to ‘harbouring’ an offender.
The NCB presented its arguments to Justice S.V. Kotwal of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday (September 29).
Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh said in the court: “If a person does not disclose the fact of drug consumption by another person, it will amount to ‘harboring’ of an offender. This point was made to justify the invocation of Section 27(A) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.”
Refuting the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) allegation that actor Rhea Chakraborty, along with her brother Showik, “financed” the drug purchases of her boyfriend and late actor Sushant Rajput, her lawyer Satish Maneshinde told the Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday that “Rajput was in no dearth of funds”.
Advocates Satish Maneshinde and Taraq Sayed, speaking on behalf of Rhea and the other accused, argued that their clients cannot be said to have ‘harbored’ Sushant since he was living in his own apartment.
On this, NCB’s Anil Singh said: “If somebody known to me is consuming drugs… consumption is illegal… and I am not telling this to anyone… not disclosing it to police…then it can be brought under the definition of ‘harboring.”
The Bombay High Court has reserved its order on the bail pleas of Rhea Chakraborty, Showik Chakraborty and others.

Rhea and her brother were arrested on September 9 in connection with the alleged drug angle in Rajput’s death. Justice Sarang Kotwal reserved order on all applications.

Arguing for their bail, Maneshinde said: “Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda used to take care of all household expenses, and there was no question of Rhea financing drug purchases for the deceased actor.”
Responding to NCB’s accusation that Chakraborty was part of a drug syndicate, Maneshinde said the allegations were merely on the basis of a solitary incident of March 17, when she gave her credit card to Miranda, who withdrew Rs10,000 using it and purchased contraband for the deceased actor.

He maintained that no amount was paid directly using Chakraborty’s card to any of the alleged peddlers for procuring drugs and so she can’t be said to be associated with any drug ring.
It is an admitted fact that Rajput used to consume drugs even before Chakraborty became acquainted with him in April 2019, and two of Rajput’s co-stars, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, have reportedly told NCB that he was consuming drugs since long, he said.
Maneshinde said NCB’s reliance on recovery of commercial quantity of drugs from one Anuj Keshwani and then the claim that Chakraborty and Showik were part of a drug ring cannot be maintained as neither of them had any connection with the alleged drug supplier.
Advocate Taraq Sayed, who argued for bail of another accused, Abdel Basit Parihar, submitted that NCB has been claiming to have busted a major drug ring by arresting 18-19 college students. He claimed that almost all accused arrested by NCB in this case come from well-to-do families and cannot be termed drug peddlers or suppliers.

Sayed submitted that the arrests were made only on the basis of statements recorded under section 67 of the NDPS Act, especially when there was hardly any recovery from most of them. He said the statements under section 67 can at the most be used to corroborate recovery from an accused, and not otherwise.
In support of his submission that the offences alleged are bailable, he relied on a 2010 judgment of the Bombay high court holding that all offences under NDPS Act involving small quantities were bailable.
Singh also responded to Maneshinde’s contention that NCB had no jurisdiction to investigate the case in view of the August 19, 2020 direction of the Supreme Court to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over cases “on the death of Rajput and surrounding circumstances”.

Maneshinde had submitted that in the replies filed by NCB to the bail applications of Chakraborty and Showik before the special NDPS court, NCB had in clear terms said it was a fallout of the drug angle in Rajput case. “This case has nothing to do with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput,” said Singh. “It is nobody’s case that Sushant Singh Rajput died due to drug abuse.”
Chakraborty and Showik moved HC for bail after their bail applications were rejected by the special NDPS court on September 11. The other three accused have approached the court separately after being refused bail by the special court.
(Mumbai Bureau with Agency Inputs ).

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