Rhea 'Not Part Of Chain Of Drug Dealers': Bombay HC Grants Actor Bail

Bombay HC said Rhea did not forward the drugs she allegedly got for someone else to earn monetary or other benefits

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Bollywood actor Rhea Chakraborty who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) along with four others for allegedly procuring drugs for her boyfriend and actor Sushant Singh Rajput who died earlier this year. The Mumbai Police had prima facie declared it as suicide.

"She is not part of the chain of drug dealers, the high court observed in granting her bail. "She has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits," the high court said.

The court, however, rejected the bail plea filed by Chakraborty's brother Showik observing that he "appears to be an important link in the chain of drug dealers."

The court disagreed with the NCB's contention that giving money to another for consuming drug would mean encouraging such habit and would mean "financing" or "harbouring" as envisaged under Section 27A of the NDPS Act.

Interpreting the relevant provision under the NDPS Act, the high court said, "if some other person like a friend or a relative pays money for such consumption, then the person who actually consumes the drug can be punished only up to one year or can get immunity...but the individual who gives money for purchasing that drug faces the prospect of spending twenty years in jail. "This is highly disproportionate and would be extremely unreasonable," Justice Sarang Kotwal said.

Chakraborty's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said that the actor was likely to be released from jail by this evening.

No celebrity enjoys any special privilege before the Court

Justice Kotwal dismissed the Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh's contention that "celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets an example for the young generation…"

"I do not agree," the judge said. "Everybody is equal before law. No celebrity or role model enjoys any special privilege before the Court of law. Similarly, such person also does not incur any special liability when he faces law in the Courts. Each case will have to be decided on its own merits irrespective of the status of the accused," he added.

In concluding the matter, the court said it was the NCB's case that the drugs were already consumed and hence there was no recovery. In that case, the court said there was nothing at this stage to show that Chakraborty "had committed any offence involving commercial quantity of contraband."

Stringent conditions for bail

The high court imposed stringent conditions while granting bail. These include a bail bond to the tune of ₹1 lakh. Chakraborty must deposit her passport, report to the nearest police station for the next 10 days. She must deposit her passport and is restricted from leaving the country. Chakraborty cannot meet or influence any other witnesses or tamper with the evidence. She must inform the investigating officer if she plans to leave the Greater Mumbai area. If she does, she must submit an advance itinerary. Chakraborty must also report to the NCB every Monday for the next six months. She must attend all court dates unless unable to due to any reasonable cause

The NCB arrested Chakraborty on September 8. Four others including her brother Showik, Abdul Parihar and Singh's domestic staff—Dipesh Sawant and Samuel Miranda—were also arrested under the provisions of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Updated On: 2020-10-11T12:20:32+05:30
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