The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has said that the substances seized in the drugs on cruise case, in which Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan is an accused, are narcotics that come under the ambit of the NDPS Act.
The probe agency on Monday filed an application before special judge V V Patil seeking a 90-day extension to file a charge sheet in the case since its investigation in the high-profile case was still on.
The probe agency, in its plea, has claimed that the chemical examination reports of all the 17 samples were received on March 12, which proved that all the contraband recovered during the raid are narcotics/psychotropic drugs within the ambit of the NDPS Act.
The application further stated that some of the accused are highly influential persons and have incriminating chats with foreign nationals who are located outside India also. Examination of such chats is in progress as foreign nationals are involved.
Due to the severe COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country from November 2021 to February 2022, the response has been delayed from the foreign agencies, the plea said.
Though the agency's plea didn't name Aryan Khan, it had on multiple occasions, during remand and bail hearings pertaining to the case, claimed that the Bollywood superstar's son was in touch with some persons who appeared to be a part of an international drug network for procurement of drugs.
"During the initial investigation, some international linkages pertinent to this applicant (Aryan Khan) have been unearthed, which prima facie indicate illicit drug procurement. The investigation requires sufficient time so as to approach the foreign agency concerned," the NCB had said in an earlier affidavit while opposing Aryan's bail.
Seeking time to file a charge sheet, the NCB in its plea claimed that the investigation was almost complete with respect to six accused as their role is intertwined and interconnected.
These six accused are Mohak Jaiswal, Gomit Chopra, Nupur Satija Abdul Kadar Chinedu Igwe and Okoro Uzeoma, it was stated.
The examination and recording of the voluntary statement of K P Gosavi, the main panch witness during the two recoveries made on October 2, 2021, is not complete, as he is under judicial custody in other cases.
Further, the NCB said that the second panch witness - Prabhakar Sail - has turned hostile and his purported affidavit in this regard is still pending before the court. Thus in such a situation, examining Gosavi becomes necessary and pivotal to unearth the true and correct facts of this case.
The case involves 20 accused, hailing from different parts of the country, and due to restricted public movement during the third wave of the pandemic many of the accused did not turn up for investigation on time, which has resulted in an unintentional delay, the plea stated.
As the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, one of the defence lawyers sought time from the court for filing his reply, saying he received the probe agency plea about an hour ago. Following this the judge adjourned the matter till Wednesday.
Of the 20 arrested accused in the case, two are in judicial custody, while the rest, including Aryan, are out on bail.
Abdul Kadar Shaikh (30), who is still in jail, told the court that his "mental, social and financial health" has suffered due to the case.
"It is really difficult for me to cope with the situation. I'm the only earning member of my family. They (NCB) can seek extension for as long as they want, but let me get out of jail," Shaikh, in person, told the court.
"It is affecting me badly. evidence is such that nothing can be tempered," he argued.
Aryan Khan was named an accused in the case along with 19 others by the NCB last year.
The 24-year-old was arrested by the NCB on October 3, following a raid on a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai. The accused persons were booked under relevant sections of the NDPS for possession, consumption, sale/purchase of banned drugs, conspiracy and abetment, among others.