Cordelia Cruise Drug Bust case: NCB gives clean chit to Aryan Khan, five others

The NCB arrested Aryan on October 2, 2021, following a raid on a cruise ship en route to Goa from Mumbai

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, May 27, 2022, 11:37 PM IST
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Aryan Khan | File

Mumbai: Citing lack of evidence, on Friday, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) gave a clean chit to Aryan Khan, the son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, in the Cordelia Cruises drug bust case.

The special investigating team (SIT), comprising officers from the Delhi NCB, submitted a nearly 6,000-page charge sheet in the case before the special judge under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

In the chargesheet, the SIT has implicated 14 of the 20 accused while six accused, including Khan, were not being proceeded against, for lack of evidence. The five other accused who were also given a clean chit in the case are Avin Shahu, Gopalji Anand, Samir Saighan, Bhaskar Aroda and Manav Singha.

“I am very happy that all that we argued in courts for the bail (of Aryan) have been appreciated by the authorities objectively and independently. I am happy that the law has been applied in the facts of the case. Unfortunately, Aryan had to undergo the trauma that he did. But the debate on the larger question in the criminal justice system of granting bail over remand needs to be looked into,” senior counsel Amit Desai, who appeared for Aryan in his bail applications, told FPJ.

The NCB arrested Aryan on October 2, 2021, following a raid on a cruise ship en route to Goa from Mumbai. Khan was arrested from the cruise terminal, on charges of attempting consumption of drugs, possession, abetment and conspiracy of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The agency claimed to have seized 13 grams of cocaine, five grams of mephedrone (MD), 21 grams of charas and 22 pills of MDMA Ecstasy.

Aryan’s bail application was first rejected by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar on the grounds that it was not maintainable, as only the special court of sessions was entitled to hear the bail plea. The special court also rejected his bail plea on October 20.

He was finally granted bail by the Bombay high court on October 28, 2021, which said that there was ‘nothing objectionable’ in the WhatsApp chat extracted from his phone. Besides, the HC also said that there was no evidence to show that Aryan and his co-accused, Arbaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, had conspired to commit drug offences.

Everyone, except for two alleged drug peddlers, Abdul Kadar and Nigerian national Chinedu Igwe, have been released on bail in the case.

In March this year, special judge V V Patil had granted the SIT an additional period of 60 days to submit the charge sheet. The stipulated time to submit a chargesheet in the NDPS case is 180 days, which ended on April 2.

In November 2021, the SIT had taken over the probe from the Mumbai unit of the NCB, which was then headed by Sameer Wankhede. Wankhede’s family and state minister Nawab Malik traded allegations and counter-allegations and Wankhede’s father Dnyandev Wankhede had filed a defamation suit before the Bombay high court.

‘26-day detention of Aryan unjustified’

“The arrest and detention of Aryan Khan for 26 days was unjustified more particularly when he was not found in possession of any drugs, there was no evidence of any kind, there was no material of any nature of the violation of any law, much less the NDPS Act. We are happy that the special investigation team, under Shri Sanjay Kumar Singh, investigated the case in an objective manner and decided not to file a complaint against Aryan Khan for lack of sufficient evidence,” said Aryan Khan’s counsel, advocate Satish Maneshinde.

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