Mumbai: The Killa court on Thursday refused the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) request for further custody of Aryan Khan and other accused in the cruise liner drug-bust case, and sent them to judicial remand. Enough time was given for interrogation, it stated, adding that sending them to further remand of the NCB will violate their fundamental rights. The NCB had sought the custody of all the eight accused, held from the cruise on Sunday, till October 11.
Ideally, the accused should be taken to the prison when in judicial custody. However, Aryan`s lawyer Satish Maneshinde urged the court to allow them to stay in the NCB`s custody. He also requested for their judicial remand under NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
Wankhede also requested to keep them in the NCB`s custody, stating that the prison department would not admit the accused without Covid-19 test reports. The court allowed the appeals.
Seeking their remand, the NCB, through Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, told the court it has arrested another accused, Aachit Kumar. “He is a supplier to Arbaaz Merchant and Aryan Khan. His name was revealed by Aryan, and hence we need further custody for their confrontation.”
In its remand application, the anti-drug police stated that a confrontation of all accused with party organisers has become imperative for the probe. “New factual details have surfaced over the past two days and we need some more time,” read its application.
Defending his client, Maneshinde told the court that Aryan was a guest at the cruise party and was invited by a friend, Pratik Gaba. He said that he has chats where there is no discussion about a rave party.
Aryan was probably invited to add more glamour to the party, said Maneshinde, and claimed that Gaba invited Merchant since he is friends with Aryan. Both friends went to the cruise party together, but Aryan has nothing to do with the drugs found on Merchant. “We cannot be made hostage, so that they arrest others involved in the case,” he told the court. Advocate Taraq Sayed, Merchant’s counsel, said the NCB can`t be given custody just for confrontation. “Confrontation can be done anytime. How long does it take?”
‘Nothing on Munmun’
Advocate Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh, who appeared for model Munmun Dhamecha, said she doesn`t know Aryan and Merchant, and that the NCB seized drugs from the room, not from her possession.
“There is absolutely nothing about Munmun, so why are they seeking her custody?” Khan asked in the court. “If this is the case, then around 1,300 people partying on the cruise should have been arrested.”
The court then observed, “Claiming custody is their [NCB] right, but simply remanding the accused in custody would violate their fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Enough time was given to NCB for the interrogation.”
Interim bail plea today
Maneshinde and others then filed an interim bail application, which the NCB opposed, stating that it is not maintainable as it is going to file a stay. Initially, the court agreed to hear the interim bail plea on Thursday itself, but later adjourned the matter to till Friday [today]. The NCB also said it has arrested a Nigerian national, a foreign link in the case, and he will be produced in court on Friday.