‘Lack of sufficient evidence’: NCB drops charges against Aryan Khan, 5 others in drugs-on-cruise case

Aryan Khan and 19 others were arrested by the NCB’s Mumbai zonal unit on October 3, 2021 on charges that they were all “’intrinsically connected” to a conspiracy involving drugs.

A Special Investigation Team of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has dropped Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, and five others from its chargesheet filed on Friday in connection with a drugs bust onboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast last October. Aryan and 19 others were arrested by the NCB’s Mumbai zonal unit on October 3, 2021 on charges that they were all “’intrinsically connected” to a conspiracy involving drugs.

In a statement Friday, the NCB said, “SIT carried out its investigation in an objective manner. The touchstone of the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt has been applied. Based on the investigation carried out by SIT, a complaint against 14 persons under various sections of NDPS Act is being filed. Complaint against rest 6 persons is not being filed due to lack of sufficient evidence.”

While nothing was seized from Aryan when the search was conducted on October 2 last year, the NCB had arrested him on the basis of chats claimed to have been found on his phone seized from him. The NCB had claimed that it was also relying on “’voluntary statements” given by some of the accused – which were later retracted – to show that they had consumed contraband. No tests were however conducted to prove consumption.Aryan was arrested and produced before a magistrate’s court on October 3, which had sent him to the NCB’s custody for a day.

On October 4, the NCB again sought Aryan’s custody, stating that though no drugs were found on him, they were seeking his further custody for one week to probe his role “pointing towards international drug trafficking” based on the chats procured from his phone. The court had then sent Aryan to NCB custody till October 7. On that day, the NCB again sought his custody but the agency’s plea was rejected by the court, which sent Aryan and seven others to judicial custody.Aryan had then moved for bail before the magistrate’s court, which rejected it on October 8 on grounds of non-maintainability, since the sections added by the NCB were triable before the special NDPS court.

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