A 32-year-old Khar resident in judicial custody since past two years in the drugs case connected to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, has claimed bail before a special court claiming that he is made a scapegoat amid media pressure by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officers who wanted to nab high profile persons and Bollywood actors.
As per the agency’s case, his name had been revealed by a co-accused and on search of his residence, it had found 585 g Charas, 270 g Marijuana and 0.62 g of LSD in 31 blotting papers.
Lodged in Taloja jail, Anuj Keshwani said in a plea filed through advocates Trivankumar Karnani and Gayatri Gokhale that NCB officers had planted the drugs in his home. He said he had been made a scapegoat while they were in “pursuit of their mala fide modus operandi”. Their modus, his application explained, was to establish a link between all co-accused and Keshwani since they had made the alleged commercial quantity recovery from him so that they could level serious charges. The reason to link other accused to Keshwani was to invoke rigors of Sec 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, it said. As per the provision, a court cannot grant bail to an accused booked in a case of commercial quantity unless it is satisfied that he is not guilty of the offence and would not commit such an offence while on bail. The provision makes it difficult to secure bail. Keshwani reiterated that he has become a scapegoat in NCB officer’s attempt to nab high profile and Bollywood personalities.
His application further said the NCB officers had concocted a case by recording statements of the accused persons under Sec 67 of the NDPS Act. It pointed out that an apex court judgment had held that statements given to officers under the provision cannot be treated as confessional statements and used as evidence in court.
What Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act says:
Commercial quantity of LSD- 0.1g
Small quantity - 0.002 g
When found with commercial quantity, rigors of Sec 37 of the NDPS Act apply
Sec 37 stipulates that court make be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that accused is not guilty of offence or will not commit it when on bail
Keshwani’s bail pleas on merits has been rejected once - in Jan 2022
Booked under stringent provisions of NDPS Act such as Sec 27A, Keshwani could face from 10 years up to 20 yrs of jail if found guilty under Sec 27A (financing illicit trafficking and harbouring offenders)
Possession of commercial quantity attracts a minimum of 10 yrs and maximum of 20 yrs and fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs.
Possession of small quantity attracts imprisonment up to six months or fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both
Possession of intermediate quantity attracts imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs. 1 lakh