Bombay HC grants bail to Rhea Chakraborty in NDPS Case

Justice SV Kotwal today granted bail to actress Rhea Chakraborty who has been accused in a case under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act filed by the NCB. The bail was granted subject to providing a Personal relief Bond of Rs. 1 lakh, with other conditions.

But the Court has rejected the bail applications filed by Showik Chakraborty and Abdul Parihar, who are as well accused of offences under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act by the NCB.

Justice Kotwal of the Bombay High Court had reserved the judgment on the bail applications on September 29, after a marathon hearing which lasted from 11 AM till about 7 PM.
All of them were arrested by the NCB for alleged offences under the NDPS Act’s provisions. A remand application was filed by NCB for judicial custody, before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Esplanade Court, and the Magistrate granted 14 days’ judicial custody over the accused.

The foremost arguments raised by the advocates for the accused were as follows:

(Adv. Taraq Sayed represented Parihar, Adv. Satish Manshinde represented Rhea Chakraborty & Showik, Adv. Subodh Desai for Miranda and Adv. Rajendra Rathod for Sawant)

  • No drugs have been recovered from the accused.
  • The NCB has wrongfully invoked the offence of ‘financing illicit trade’ and ‘harbouring offender’ under Section 27A against the accused. The accused were only following the instructions of Sushant, and even as per their case few grams of ganja were purchased for him. So if Sushant, the ultimate beneficiary, is only punishable for the offence relating to small quantity, the accused cannot be booked for a higher punishment (Section 27A is punishable with a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. Consumption of drugs is punishable with a minimum of 6 months imprisonment and maximum of one-year imprisonment. Even this punishment can be avoided if the accused volunteers for rehabilitation under Section 64A).
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  • There is no question of ‘harbouring’ the accused as Sushant was in his house only and the accused were staying with him.
  • NCB has no case that the accused consumed drugs.
  • Rigour against the grant of bail under Section 37(1) NDPS Act no applicable in the case as the offences relate to small quantities.
  • The Narcotics Crimes Bureau (NCB) had no jurisdiction to investigate in this matter because of the Supreme Court order of August 19, 2020, to hand over all investigations pertaining to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput to the CBI. Even if NCB had jurisdiction, the offences that were charged on the accused were of a bailable nature. On this aspect, the counsel added that the quantities of the substance allegedly involved in the matter were small, and not commercial.

Arguments raised by the NCB

(Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh represented the NCB)

  • The NCB submitted that the recovery of contraband was not always necessary for sustaining NDPS offences. He argued that if a person conceals the drug consumption habit by another which will amount to ‘harbouring of the offender’.
  • The Court has to test the objectives of the NDPS Act, that is to protect the youth of the country from the peril of drugs. Offences related to drugs are worse than murder, as they distress the whole society.

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