Mumbai: The Bombay high court in its detailed order granting bail to three, including Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha, in the high-profile Mumbai cruise drugs case dated October 28, said there is “hardly any positive evidence” that nothing objectionable was found in WhatsApp conversations between them.
“There is hardly any positive evidence on record to convince this Court that all the accused persons with common intention agreed to commit unlawful act,” the order read.
“Merely because of Applicants were travelling on the cruise, that by itself cannot be termed as satisfying foundation for invoking provisions of Section 29 (conspiracy) against the Applicants – Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha,” the court explained the justification behind the bail.
The High Court order also read that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) cannot rely on the alleged confessional statements recorded by the investigating officer as they are not binding.
For the unversed, Aryan Khan, 23, the son of superstar Shah Rukh Khan, was granted bail three weeks after his arrest in the drugs-on-cruise case. The NCB had arrested the trio on October 3, hours after drug raids at the International Cruise Terminal on secret information about an alleged party on the cruise which was set to leave for Goa from Mumbai.
The NCB’s claim was that it had recovered 6 grams of charas from Arbaaz and 5 grams of hash from Munmun and arrested eight person that day and in all 20 accused in the case so far including one with commercial quantity. The anti-drug agency, through additional solicitor Anil Singh, relying on the provisions of section 29 (offence of conspiracy) under NDPS Act, however, claimed that “cumulatively, commercial quantity of drugs was seized” from those accused in the case and that it was a case of larger conspiracy and hence bail be denied.
Notably, Aryan Khan’s friend Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha have also been granted bail.