Aryan Khan was arrested on account of a tip off received by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Oct. 2nd 2021. As per arrest memo, Aryan Khan was arrested for “involvement in consumption, sale and purchase” of contraband substance. Charges to Aryan included: Section 8(c), 2. Section 20(b), Section 27, Section 35 of NDPS Act.
Formally, Aryan was placed under arrest by NCB at around 2 pm on October 3, a day after the raid on Cordelia Cruise heading to Goa from Mumbai. NCB also arrested two of friends viz. Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant along with him. NCB claimed to have seized 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy), 21 grams of charas, 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of MD from his friends altogether.
#Check Out all Current affairs here!
Deciphering The Charges of NDPS ACT invoked to Aryan Khan
Aryan Khan, the star kid was charged under 04 sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. Provisions of these four sections of NDPS Act, 1985 have following implications:
1.Section 8(c) of NDPS Act
The section 8(c) of NDPS Act prohibits the possession, purchase, production, manufacturing, selling, transport, warehouse, use, consumption, inter-state import and export, import to and from India, or transship of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, barring medical or scientific purposes.
2.Section 20(b) of NDPS Act
The provisions of section 20 (b) of NDPS Act makes possession, cultivation, manufacture, sale, transport, and use of cannabis as punishable offences and sets out term of imprisonment depending upon the quantity seized from the accused.
Possession of a ‘small quantity’, provides for imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months.
If the recovered quantity is less than ‘commercial’ but more than ‘small’, the imprisonment may extend to ten years.
Possession of ‘commercial’, quantity renders imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years and may extend to twenty years.
Further, the quantum of contraband substance has been defined under different subsections under section 2 of the NDPS Act and precise limit has been notified by the central govt in official gazette for that matter.
3. Section 27 of the NDPS Act
Provisions of Section 27, makes the consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance a punishable offence and lays down the term of imprisonment depending upon the nature of contraband consumed.
Section 27 of the NDPS Act reads as:
“27. Punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.—Whoever, consumes any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall be punishable,—
(a) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is cocaine, morphine, diacetylmorphine or any other narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance as may be specified in this behalf by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees; or with both; and
(b) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is other than those specified in or under clause (a), with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both.”
4. Section 35 of NDPS Act
The provisions of section 35 impose a burden of proof on the accused. Section presumes that the accused is of culpable mind or guilty conscience. Meaning, he knew what he was doing. Hence, the accused shall be treated guilty unless proven innocent. However subsection (b) provides a bit of relief that says that the fact will only be treated proved if the evidence exists “beyond doubt” which is of course an element of Evidence Act that requires evidences to be of standard degree as in case of any other criminal offence.
It is extremely important to see what section 35 reads like:
“35. Presumption of culpable mental state.— (1) In any prosecution for an offence under this Act which requires a culpable mental state of the accused, the court shall presume the existence of such mental state but it shall be a defence for the accused to prove the fact that he had no such mental state with respect to the act charged as an offence in that prosecution.
Explanation.—In this section “culpable mental state” includes intention motive, knowledge of a fact and belief in, or reason to believe, a fact.
(2) For the purpose of this section, a fact is said to be proved only when the court believes it to exist beyond a reasonable doubt and not merely when its existence is established by a preponderance of probability.”
Arguments by Aryan’s Advocates in Favour of Bail
The arguments that were given by the advocates of Aryan Khan broadly included following:
- NCB did not recover any drugs from Aryan Khan
- Alleged WhatsApp Chats Cannot be Connected to Instant Case.
- Allegations Relate to ‘small quantity’ and ‘consumption’ Only.
- Aryan has No criminal antecedents
- There is no likelihood of fleeing of Aryan upon granting bail.
NCB’s Arguments Against Bail of Aryan
NCB and especially, the additional Solicitor General of India fought tooth and nail for continuation of detention of Aryan khan. Following arguments against his bail were tendered:
- Drugs recovered from Aryan’s friend Arbaaz Merchant were for both of them
- Alleged WhatsApp chats indicate ‘international drug trafficking’
- Aryan is involved in conspiracy so, the amounts of drugs recovered is immaterial.
- Mr. Aryan is a habitual consumer of contraband
- Release of any accused Can Potentially hamper the ongoing investigation by NCB.
Interesting Turn in the Arrest of Aryan Khan Case
As on date of being written this, Aryan has been granted bail (on 28.10.2021) along with his friends but the case has taken an unexpected turn.
The NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede has come under scanner since one of the witnesses to the raid and Panchanama viz. Mr. Prabhakar Sail moved a notarized affidavit. The said affidavit states that Rs 25 crore had been demanded by another witness Mr. KP Gosavi on behalf of Mr. Sameer Wankhede for the release of Aryan Khan. The episode has got politicized wherein serious doubts have been raised by some politicians over the functioning of NCB. We have lot to see what future holds in the high voltage sensation of Aryan Khan case.