On Sunday, when superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was produced before a court in Mumbai, the sections cited in the Narcotics Control Bureau’s FIR were section 8(c) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 that has wide provisions for producing, manufacturing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, using, consuming, importing, exporting any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. This section is read with three others – section 20 (b) that relates to the use of cannabis, section 27 that relates to the consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance and section 35 which is the presumption of culpable mental state. Aryan, 23, was first sent into NCB’s custody for one day and then, on Monday, October 4, his custody was extended to October 7. The period ends tomorrow.
Senior counsel Satish Maneshinde, who represents Aryan (23) in the matter, is expected to make another application for bail. We spoke to a few senior counsels in the city to gauge the consequences of the sections listed in the FIR and whether Aryan is likely to get his bail. Senior counsel Hitesh Jain believes, “There was an argument advanced in Rhea Chakraborty’s ’s case almost a year ago. It was argued that the offence becomes bailable if the quantity involved is small. The Bombay High Court, in its order, had stated that while it was not a bailable offence, the court was inclined to grant bail in view of the provisions that there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is not guilty of the offence, and there is no likelihood of her committing another offence under the said act. Relying on chats is a presumption but not enough to draw a conclusion that the person is guilty. It appears that no contraband was found in person. On the twin consideration case for grant of bail can be made out.”
Senior counsel Dipesh Mehta, who has represented several celebrities in complex cases, says, “Looking at the sections in the NCB’s FIR, I would say that Aryan is being charged for a bailable offence. The maximum punishment is 1 year and a fine of Rs. 20,000 with the alleged quantity of drugs found. However, other actions and involvement related to drugs are still being investigated, so it might be too early to say anything further.”
Advocate Ashok Saraogi, a popular celebrity criminal lawyer, famous for appearing in top criminal and civil cases of India, says, “If the WhatsApp chat that the NCB is talking about is as incriminating as they claim it to be, then Aryan Khan may not get bail. In fact, if his involvement in sale, purchase, and consumption are all proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then he may have to go to jail, too.”