MUMBAI: With the AIIMS panel ruling out murder as the cause of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, all eyes are on Bombay high court which has reserved bail pleas of the actor’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik, along with those of three others, in a drugs case for judgment. The HC order is expected next week.
Advocate Satish Maneshinde, who represents Rhea, had argued in HC that there was no case made out for a non-bailable offence against Rhea and Showik by the Narcotics Control Bureau. He alleged that trumped-up charges of ‘financing illicit traffic’ with criminal conspiracy were invoked “merely to argue against giving Rhea bail.”
Bail ought to be given when drug quantities are small, a division bench of Delhi high court had said. Maneshinde had said that not only were no drugs seized, but allegations that they were buying quantities for Rajput’s personal consumption only meant small quantities and entitled them to bail.
Advocate Taraq Sayed, who appeared for another accused in the case, too had submitted that when quantity of drugs is small, the more serious nonbailable charge under Section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for ‘financing illicit traffic’ cannot be invoked as the offence is meant to deal with drug operatives on a larger and international scale. But NCB has said since the offence is silent on quantities being financed, it would apply to the case against Rhea too.
NCB counsel additional solicitor general Anil Singh argued that the financing offence is governed by stringent bail provisions which require the court to be satisfied that an accused is ‘not guilty.’ But other independent and senior lawyers said in 2001, an amendment was made to the NDPS Act to bring in punishment based on three categories of quantities of drugs seized. Ever since, courts have held that when offences did not involve commercial quantities, they would be bailable.
Lawyer Amit Desai said,“The legislature itself adopts a more empathetic approach to matters of small quantities, as is borne out by several judgments, when they held stringent provisions of bail would not apply to small quantities. Courts should thus, on a construct of provision which is capable of interpretation, lean in favour of personal liberty.” A counsel in Mumbai, Pranav Badheka, said, “Even accepting the NCB case, at the highest it appears to be a case of small quantity against most of the accused, and HCs have held that when it involves small quantities, bail should be the norm.” On Saturday, Maneshinde used the term ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in his reaction to reports about AIIMS’s findings.
Many theories were floated, but now we stand vindicated, says Mumbai Police.
The Mumbai police said they stood vindicated as reports emerged that an AIIMS panel had ruled out foul play in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, reports V Narayan.
A Bandra police officer who was part of the original probe told TOI, “There was strong speculation and there were theories floated. But the AIIMS report has backed our probe and also the autopsy done by five doctors at Cooper Hospital.” Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh told TOI, “We are waiting for the official version. Truth will prevail.” Police had come in for criticism in the matter for not registering an FIR. They had registered an accidental death report after Sushant’s death on June 14 and carried out an inquiry. They had maintained it was a case of suicide.


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