The senior-most law officer of the Union government in Maharashtra, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appeared in court on behalf of the NCB on Monday and argued that “shocking incriminating material” had been seized from the accused Aryan Khan‘s phone.
Earlier, the NCB counsel had Sunday sought Aryan’s “reasonable custody” for only two days.
After the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) told a magistrate’s court on Monday that while the 23-year-old Aryan Khan was not found in possession of drugs, they needed his custody to probe evidence “pointing towards international drug trafficking” based on his phone chats, it was allowed custody of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan till October 7.
While the NCB sought his custody for a week, the court gave an extension till October 7. Seven others arrested Sunday were also sent to custody till Thursday.
According to the latest reports, Aryan’s lawyers told the court that the NCB had not produced any evidence to connect him to the alleged drugs seized from a party aboard a cruise ship on Saturday. The NCB claims to have found drugs on the other seven held from the ship, Cordelia.
It arrested three more people on Monday, including another passenger from the ship, after it returned to Mumbai from its trip.
ASG Singh told the court, “There are links in the form of pictures, chats, etc pointing towards international drug trafficking. There are several suspicious characters whose identities are not known. There are conversations about procuring narcotic drugs in bulk, discussions on modes of payment other than cash or bank transfers. Several code names are used… It is necessary to confront the accused with various persons. There are international transaction linkages, we may need to take inputs from other agencies.”
The NCB claimed chats from the time Aryan was studying in the US to as recently as July 2021. To the court’s query on what the chats proved, the ASG said they were relevant to find out who the suppliers, financiers were.
Granting an extension of custody, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar said, “The fact (is) that the co-accused were found in possession of intermediate drugs and these three (Aryan, Arbaz Merchant, and Munmun Dhamecha) were accompanying them. The investigation is of prime importance, the same is useful for prosecution and for the accused to prove their innocence.”
Singh said while no drugs had been seized from Aryan, investigating him was needed “to unearth other aspects like who was the supplier”. The ASG went on to argue that drugs had become common among youngsters, and a “high-profile” person is considered a role model. He said the NCB was also investigating the organizers of the cruise party.
Aryan’s counsel Satish Maneshinde contested that he had not even boarded the ship when the authorities began conducting a check. He said Aryan’s belongings and person were searched and nothing found, and that while “6 gram of charas” were found on Arbaz Merchant, Aryan had no links to it. “He was accompanied by one-two friends. While they were allowed to go, the NCB took Aryan’s phone,” Maneshinde said.