Transfer drug probe to CBI, NCB has no jurisdiction: Rhea Chakraborty to HC – Times of India ►

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MUMBAI: Actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik on Thursday sought bail from the Bombay high court in a drug case, saying the “investigation is illegal for want of jurisdiction.”

Their counsel Satish Maneshinde submitted that the serious offence of “financing illicit traffic and harbouring” under section 27A of the NDPS Act must be read to relate only to commercial, and not small, quantities of drugs. He added the offence is bailable since no drugs were found in their possession and the allegations, if any, pertain to only a small quantitiy.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had registered a case and arrested 16 people so far, including the siblings.

The NCB alleged that Rhea is a member of a “drug syndicate” for allegedly being involved in procuring small quantities for actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s consumption. In her petition, the actor said that NCB case clearly shows that only Rajput was the consumer.

Rhea was arrested on September 8 and is currently lodged in the Byculla Women’s jail in Mumbai.

Her counsel further said if the case in which the brother-sister duo has been arrested is in connection with Rajput’s death, it should be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“Based on the Supreme Court judgement transferring the (death) case to CBI, all future cases should also go to the CBI,” he said, adding, “under a 1988 gazette CBI is empowered to investigate drug cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). Thus, the investigation carried out till now is illegal.”

The drug law was amended in 1989 to bring in section 27A which attracts severe punishment of 10-20 years’ imprisonment. Maneshinde said that amendment to bring in stricter provisions was done since India was signatory to the UN convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988 to curb international trafficking in narcotic drugs.

Parliament had amended various sections under NDPS to make them tougher and in 2001, rationalised punishment by linking them to the quantity of drugs.

Such a stringent section could never apply to the facts of the case against the siblings and no case of the serious offence is made out, he said.

The court posted the matter for hearing on September 29. It also asked additional solicitor general Anil Singh, representing NCB, as well as the petitioners’ lawyers, to give detailed explanation on the law points.

Rhea was Rajput’s girlfriend and said she had last seen him alive on June 8 when he asked her to leave his Bandra residence “before his sister arrived”.

She recounted details of how she met Rajput and how on June 10 he had called her brother to enquire about her wellbeing.

“This made it clear that he did not want her to come back to his house, as normally, whenever he asked her to leave, he would always ask her to come back,” said her petition. She further added that she was “devasted” to learn of Sushant’s demise June 14 through common friends.

“None of the accused connected to her have remotely been found to be in possession of anything beyond small quantity,” the actor’s bail plea said.

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