Actor Rhea Chakroborty and her brother Showik have approached the special court under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act for bail as their pleas were rejected by the Magistrate court on Wednesday.
Showik Chakraborty, Sushant’s house manager Samuel Miranda and Sushant’s domestic help Dipesh Sawant, and Bandra residents Zaid Vilatra, Abdel Basit Parihar who were arrested for allegedly peddling drugs were produced before a magistrate court which sent them to judicial custody till September 23, said NCB officials.
They have all applied for bail but the matter has been adjourned till tomorrow.
In her plea, Rhea has stated that she is innocent and falsely implicated in the case. Further, it is claimed that Rhea “was coerced into making self-incriminatory confessions and by her application on September 8 the applicant has formally retracted all such incriminatory confessions”.
The actor’s bail plea too was not accepted by the court after the prosecution raised objections regarding jurisdiction of the magistrate court to hear her plea.
Questioned for three days by all levels of officers of the NCB from September 6 to 8, Rhea was formally arrested on Tuesday. “There was not a single lady officer who interrogated the present applicant as mandated by law. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Sheela Barse VS State Maharashtra, has held that the interrogation of females should be carried out only in the presence of a female police officer/constable,” reads the bail application, highlighting that the agency failed to comply with the guidelines of the apex court.
The sister-brother duo has been booked under Section 27 A of the NDPS Act which provides for punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders. As per the provisions, if found guilty the two can face imprisonment not less than 10 years and can also be fined Rs 2 lakh. They have been arrested for allegedly arranging a narcotic substance for actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
After the bail pleas were turned down by the magistrate court, the 28-year-old’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde approached the special court. The pleas are scheduled for hearing on Thursday where the investigating agency would be required to file their reply before the special court.
The defense has raised the issue of applicability of charges of Section 27 A of NDPS Act against the two. In Rhea’s plea, the defense has stated, “The allegations against the present accused would at the most make out a case of purchasing a small quantity of drug which is in essence a bailable offence. There is not a shred of evidence to connect the applicant with financing any illicit traffic or harbouring any offender and hence the ingredients of Section 27 A of the NDPS Act are not made out in present facts and circumstances.”
“The respondent (NCB) is silent as to the amount of financing, quantum of drugs and the type of drugs allegedly procured and financed by the present applicant. The case of the respondent in the layman term is that the applicant would co-ordinate the delivery of the drug for her then boyfriend and occasionally pay for them herself. In essence, her alleged role, if any, is purchase of a small quantity of drugs for her then boyfriend which would squarely fall within the ambit of Section 20 (b) (ii) (A) (produces, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-State, exports inter-State or uses cannabis,) which is punishable with a maximum imprisonment of upto a year or with fine or both,” reads the bail plea filed by Rhea’s lawyer.
The defense alleged that even though the role attributed to Rhea and her brother Showik is identical to that of another accused in the case – Kaizan Ebrahim, NCB selectively invoked charges of Section 27 A only against Rhea and Showik.
“The co-accused Kaizan was in fact released on provisional cash bail on the very first day of his remand by the magistrate court,” defense claimed in Rhea’s bail plea, adding that the agency did not even ask for his custody.
The defense have cited several rulings of the Supreme Court to support their contention and contented that in a case when the person is found to have been booked under bailable offence he or she is entitled for bail.