Mumbai: Four persons, including two suspected drug suppliers, arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in the Cordelia cruise ship rave party case were produced before a city magistrate on Tuesday evening. The court has remanded them in the agency’s custody till October 11.
The NCB had sought an in-camera hearing of the suspected supplier Abdul Shaikh’s remand proceedings on Tuesday. Such a proceeding is not open to the public or the media and only concerned advocates and parties are present. The agency claimed to have recovered a commercial quantity of 54.3 gms of Mephedrone and 2.5 gms of ecstasy from 30-year-old Shaikh, who was arrested from a location near Jogeshwari.
Magistrate RM Nerlikar however rejected the plea, stating that he did not think an in-camera hearing was necessary and that it would be appropriate to conduct the proceedings in open court. NCB prosecutor Advait Sethna had told the court while making the request that the agency had taken a very conscious decision to protect his identity to whatever extent possible and to minimise exposure. He also pointed out that the media was present in court. The court questioned how the identity could be protected if his name had already been revealed.
Shaikh’s lawyer, Apoorv Srivastav, did not object to in-camera proceedings, but filed a plea to retract the statement that the NCB claimed was Shaikh’s voluntary statement to them. The retraction plea stated that statements were made under duress and he was forced to give statements in the manner as demanded by NCB officers. He further told the court that Shaikh was being made a scapegoat to cover all the big names. The NCB had claimed before court that another co-accused, Mohak Jaiswal, who is now in its custody, had revealed his name. Advocate Srivastav said Shaikh had no contact or any acquaintance with Jaiswal and did not know why he had named his client.
Prosecutor Advait Sethna told the court 2 gms of charas was recovered from another suspected supplier, Shreyas Nair, 23. He was arrested on the revelation in the statement of another co-accused who is now in custody, he added. He said 2.4 gms of ganja was recovered from Manish Rajgaria, 30. The agency said no recovery had been made from Avin Sahu, but that he was a consumer and had consumed ganja twice during his stay on the cruise ship. Rajgaria and Sahu were guests on the cruise ship, the agency told the court.
Magistrate Nerlikar said in view of the alleged contraband seized, he was of the view that a probe was needed to get to the root of the case.
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