Mumbai: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday filed a voluminous, 61,700-plus page charge sheet, with annexures against 33 persons, including Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik, in the drugs case related to the death of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Of this,11,700 pages were in physical form and over 50,000 were digital. The agency said that out of ecological concerns, it was filing a large portion of the annexures in 'soft' form.
Of the 33 accused, only eight remain in judicial custody, with the others having been granted bail at different points. NCB Special Public Prosecutor Atul Sarpande said that presently, the chargesheet included the statements of 161 witnesses and the agency had mentioned that more witnesses might be included later with the court’s permission as investigation progressed. In a press release, it said that further investigation in the matter against known and unknown persons was ongoing.
Further, the NCB release said, “During the course of investigation, several seizures of various narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances, electronic gadgets and Indian as well as foreign currency were affected. The technical gadgets and the mobile phones were analyzed and the relevant incriminating evidence regarding the sale, purchase, procurement, consumption and possession of narcotics drugs were extracted. Drugs seized were sent for chemical examination. The case was thoroughly investigated on the basis of seizures affected from the accused persons, voluntary disclosure statements, technical evidence i.e connectivity through call details, WhatsApp Chats, details of bank accounts/financial transactions and other oral and documentary evidences.” On the conclusion of further investigations, a supplementary chargesheet would be filed, it added.
The case had begun with the seizure of a small quantity of 46gm marijuana in August-end last year ,from one Abbas Ali Lakhani. In a few days, Rhea’s brother Showik was arrested based on statements of those arrested before him. Thereafter, the NCB arrested Rhea, again based on statements. While initially their bail pleas were rejected by the special court, Rhea eventually managed to secure bail from the Bombay HC. Showik spent three months in prison before getting bail from the special court on the grounds of the SC ruling then, which held that statements under Section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) to officers of the NCB would not be admissible as evidence before court.