CASE OF ARYAN KHAN: ANALYSIS
Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Author: Karan Mishra, I year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From NMIMS School of Law, Navi Mumbai.
There has been an ongoing tussle between the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Aryan Khan, the son of famed Bollywood actor Sharukh Khan. During the evening of October 3rd, NCB officials arrested Aryan Khan as he was boarding a cruise ship from Mumbai to Goa for a cruise party.
The NCB officials arrested around 8 accused, including Aryan khan, under this Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which prohibits a person the production, possession, sale, transport, storage or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. In the aftermath of a famous Bollywood celebrity drug case, the punishment for illegal consumption of these drugs has become more severe. No matter who you are, to whom you represent, if you get caught in violating the constitution of India, then you will be definitely put behind bars if you find guilty of crime. Arrested on October 3, Aryan Khan was charged with offences under NDPS section 8(c), 20(b), 27, 28, 29 and 35 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.
Some are speculating that NCB is mainly targeting Bollywood actors and actresses in order to gain fame and name, as they aim to become famous. There were reports that a lot of cases were registered under this Act every day, but when it comes to celebrity or public figures, things were reported in an exaggerated manner. At present Aryan khan was release on bail, by the Bombay High Court. In order to get actual arguments to question NCB irregularities during the arrest of the accused, various arguments from both sides need to be looked at.
Arguments presented by the prosecution
Starting with the prosecution arguments, As alleged by Additional Solicitor General, Anil Singh, there was incriminating evidence embedded in the WhatsApp chat of the accused, we believed the accused is in regular contact with international drug traffickers for the illegal procurement of drugs. Aryan Khan claims that no drugs were seized from him. However, we could check out that even if there were no drugs recovered, the accused was involved in the conspiracy under Section 29 of NDPS ACT that, so there was a presumption that the accused would be aware of the drug dealings going on. As per Section 20(b) of NDPS Act, it basically lays down punishment for the possession of contravention of cannabis into three different quantities, i.e., small quantity, intermediate quantity & commercial quantity. In case of commercial quantity possession, the accused can be denied bail if public prosecutor withstand that bail.
Only the concerned court if feels that accused may have reasonable grounds of not being guilty & may not influence the witnesses or may not tamper the evidence can grant bail to the concerned person. As we procured intermediate quantity number of drugs from the one of accused, we still want to remind to the defendant side, as they are continuously raising argument about the quantity of drugs seized, that in case of conspiracy, quantity of drugs seized is immaterial to the court. Aside from that, Anil Singh also said that all of the accused were close friends with each other, so they had a better understanding of what was going on in their friend circles. Also, if we allow to grant bail to Aryan khan alone, then it would be injustice to other accused because they are partially or equally involved in dealing of drugs. As childhood friends, both Aryan and Arbaaz know right from wrong. In the same car, both of them went to the party and in light of these facts, it is quite reasonable that Aryan Khan would be aware of the drugs Arbaaz carries in his socks. Due to the previous chats between the accused and international drug dealers on WhatsApp we are very confident the accused is a regular user of illicit drugs, therefore there was a suspicion that he may have consumed drugs at the cruise party too. These chats also give us the opportunity to expose the international drug mafia who are supplying these naïve adults with drugs, causing their lives to be ruined.
Arguments presented by the applicant
we now look into the accused/applicant arguments to get a broader picture. As alleged by the applicant’s lawyer, Amit Desai, that my client was arrested just before boarding into the ship, NCB officials detained all the accused when they were about to enter into the ship. The entire arrest, according to him, is illegal, since as per Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the arresting police officer must inform the person arrested about the grounds of the arrest, which was not done in this case. Also, he pointed out that NCB officials implicated this case on the basis of WhatsApp chat, which is more of incriminating evidence in nature against the accused, and the same cannot be used in this case because as per Article 20(3) of Indian Constitution, no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be witness against himself. Additionally, to present a WhatsApp chat as evidence, it requires a Section 65B Certificate of the Indian Evidence Act, which was not submitted to the court in this case. My client, Aryan Khan, He had simply been invited by the organizers, and he did not have a boarding pass either. He did not even have illicit drugs on him during his arrest, so how can he be charged under these various sections of this act. As Desai pointed out, the prosecution has accused my client of conspiracy, but to remind them that for the offence of conspiracy, there must be a conscious meeting of minds to commit an illegal act.
As per this case both Arbaaz and Aryan were in the same car and my client, Aryan, doesn’t even know what Arbaaz is carrying on his shocks, he clearly denied the allegations that he was aware of the drugs that Arbaaz is carrying. As he stated that even though Arbaaz is a childhood friend, it does not impose any liability on him to check whether he possesses drugs or not. It is simply not my concern to look into someone's private life. Moreover, when my client was arrested, his arrest memo did not even contain these conspiracy charges. NCB, at first sight, had examined his phone and found no suspicious activity.
In view of these facts, it is evident that my client is being wrongly accused of conspiracy. With reference to the NCB reply, we see ‘Illicit trafficking’ as one of the charges. Illicit trafficking is not a casual term, it is term of law and even in the chargesheet there is no mention of section 27A of NDPS Act that deals with ‘illicit trafficking’. So, I would like NCB officials to refrain from going here and there, but to first go see what charges have been framed against my client.
CONCLUSION : THERE IS STILL MUCH TO DO
So, these all are the various aspects of the NCB vs Aryan Khan case that need to be analyzed. There are many unknown factors in this case as well that need to be clarified. Since this case involves reputed celebrities and politicians, there is a huge chance it will be affected by the involvement of people in it. Following the details of this case, we can conclude that Indian law is equal for all and it challenges the preconceived notions of those in power who can bend the rules for their own benefit.