The cruise ship Cordelia sailed even after people were intercepted at the terminal and it was told not to set sail on the voyage, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Wednesday told a magistrate while seeking custody of four persons it claimed to be the organisers of the event on the ship.The agency’s prosecutor Advait Sethna told the court that contraband was found after the ship came back.
The four persons produced before the court – Sameer Sehgal, 30, Manav Singhal, 33, Bhaskar Arora, 26 and Gopal Anand, 35 – were charged with Sec 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, which pertains to punishment for financing illicit trafficking and harbouring offenders. The NCB told the court they were giving shelter to those indulging in illegal activities and hence the charge.
Prosecutor Sethna said as the investigation progresses, the mystery is unfolding. “All these persons are an integral part of the organising team on the cruise where the raid had taken place and contraband seized,” the agency’s remand report read. While Sehgal and Singhal are directors of the firm Kin Plus Trading Pvt. Ltd, two others are associated with the company and played an active role in organising the event, the court was informed. The NCB said their custody was required to find out how the already arrested persons boarded the ship, and regarding the event that took place before as well as after the boarding, which led to seizure of drugs. Further it said it needs to confront them with the arrested persons and know the nexus.
Appearing for all the four accused, advocate Harsh Gangurde opposed the NCB plea for custody and alleged that all four had been under illegal detention and were not produced before the court within 24 hours. “They had been taken into custody on October 4 and shown as arrested only on October 5,” he told the court and argued that this violated their constitutional rights of right to life and personal liberty. The NCB claimed there was no illegal detention.
Rejecting the plea, Magistrate RM Nerlikar said in his order the claims of the defence advocate are contrary to the arrest memo that shows they were arrested on October 5. The court granted the custody of the four accused to the NCB till October 14, considering the nature of allegations and the need for investigation to go to the root of the matter.
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