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Sushant probe: NCB arrests five persons in drugs cases; HC adjourns hearing on bail pleas


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MUMBAI: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), probing drugs angle in the actor Sushant Singh Rajput death case, on Friday arrested five persons in separate cases and seized over 1.4 kg of contraband, an official said.

Rahil Vishram (42) was apprehended from his residence in suburban Versova and arrested after questioning in the drugs case related to Rajput's death, the NCB official said.

A team of the NCB Mumbai unit raided Vishram's house following the questioning of Ankush Arenja (28), arrested by the agency earlier, about drug peddlers, he said.

The team seized 928 gm of charas and Rs 4,36,000 in cash during the raid on Vishram's house, he said. In a separate case, 490 gm of ganja was seized from four persons about whom Arenja had provided some leads.

Vishal Salve (25) and Jaichetan Raichera (29) were arrested from Badlapur in Thane district, while Rohan Talwar (29) and Nongthung Lotha (30) were arrested from suburban Powai.

The NCB has so far arrested more than a dozen persons, including actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik, in the drugs case lodged in connection with the Sushant death probe.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on bail pleas of Rajput's aide Samuel Miranda and two others, arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) .

Justice Sarang Kotwal said drug trafficking was a serious issue and the NCB can probe a person even if no drugs have been recovered from him.

He asked Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the NCB, and the applicants' lawyers to address the court particularly on sections 27 (A) and 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Section 27(A) deals with the quantity of drugs seized while section 37 imposes a bar on grant of bail.

Miranda, Rajput's domestic aide Dipesh Sawant and alleged drug peddler Abdul Basit Parihar have moved the high court for bail.

Last week, a special court had rejected the bail pleas of Rajput's girlfriend and actor Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik, Sawant, Miranda, Parihar, and Zaid Vilatra, another accused.

The NCB opposed their bail pleas before the special court saying they had been arrested for their roles in financing and procuring drugs.

Rhea and her brother have not moved the HC for bail.

Others have contended before the HC that no drugs were recovered from them, and whatever contraband the NCB has recovered in the case is very small in quantity.

Parihar's lawyer Taraq Sayed argued on Friday that the NCB had recovered a total of "59 grams of ganja" from two other accused persons, which was less than "commercial quantity" (commercial quantity attracts higher punishment).

Parihar, Miranda and Sawant had been booked for bailable offences, he pointed out.

Sayed also argued that while section 27A, which provides for punishment for financing illicit traffic of drugs, attracts a bar on grant of bail, his client was not even charged under 27A.

Justice Kotwal said that at the next date, all the parties will have to elaborate on whether financing a small quantity of drugs will also attract the bar on bail.

He also noted that even if the NCB did not recover anything from an accused, it was free to conduct probe.

"You might be a dealer and therefore, not having anything in your possession," the judge said.

"The idea is that you have to break down the chain of illicit trafficking of drugs. This is a serious issue and trafficking has to be stopped. So the agency is free to go after an accused irrespective of recoveries," he said.

The applicants also argued that the NCB was trying to show as if Rajput, "a person worth crores, was so broke that his girlfriend and staff were financing his drugs".

The court said it will examine the facts of the case on September 29, the next date.

"This issue (drug trafficking) covers all cases of the past, present, and future. I am in no hurry to pass any orders. The ASG will have to respond to all issues because, whatever I say, is going to affect many cases," the judge said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)