The Narcotics Control Bureau has recorded the statement of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s driver in connection with the seizure of drugs from a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast, an NCB official said on Sunday.
The driver reached the NCB’s office in south Mumbai on Saturday evening.
The anti-drugs agency sleuths recorded his statement following which he was allowed to leave, the official said.
The NCB personnel late Saturday night carried out multiple raids in Mumbai’s suburbs, including Goregaon.
They also arrested one more person, identified as Shivraj Ramdas, from Santacruz area on Friday night in connection with the case of drugs seizure, the official said.
So far, 19 people have been arrested in the case, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.
Aryan Khan and some others were arrested by the NCB last Sunday following a raid on a Goa-bound cruise ship, based on a tip-off that a party was to take place onboard the vessel.
An NCB team led by its zonal director Sameer Wankhede had raided the ship and claimed to have recovered banned drugs.
On Thursday, the court had rejected the NCB’s request for further custody of Aryan Khan and seven others and instead sent them in 14-day judicial custody.
The NCB on Saturday also conducted searches at the residence and office of film producer Imtiyaz Khatri here in connection with the seizure of drugs from the cruise ship and also questioned him.
The agency asked him to appear before it again on Monday, the official said.
Khatri’s name cropped up during the interrogation of some of the accused persons, who were earlier arrested in the drugs seizure case, the official said, adding that the NCB has been cracking down on drug peddlers and suppliers in the metropolis.
NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Saturday alleged that the NCB had initially detained 11 people following raid on the cruise ship, but let off three of them, including the brother-in-law of BJP leader Mohit Bharatiya, a couple of hours after the operation.
Bharatiya hit back saying he will file a defamation suit seeking Rs 100 crore in damages against Malik.
A magistrate’s court has no jurisdiction to entertain a bail application for an offence with prescribed punishment of more than three years under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act as it is triable by a special court, as per the order by which the bail plea of Aryan Khan and two others, held in the cruise ship drugs case, were rejected.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate(ACMM) R M Nerlikar had rejected their bail pleas on Friday.
In the 15-page order, the details of which were made available on Saturday, the ACMM said “this court ceases its jurisdiction to entertain the applications for bail” considering section 36A and the fact that all three were held for one crime under various provisions of the NDPS Act for which the prescribed punishment was more than three years.
All the alleged offences are exclusively triable by the special court, his order further stated.
Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as well as Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested on October 3 following the alleged seizure of banned drugs aboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.
They have been booked under various provisions of NDPS Act and are currently in judicial custody.
So far, 18 people have arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with the incident.
The ACMM’s court noted the investigation revealed that allegations leveled against all the accused are in respect of consumption, sale and purchase, with intermediate quantity as well as commercial quantity of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances allegedly being seized, for which the punishment prescribed is more than three years.
While lawyers arguing for bail for the accused cited various previous orders, the ACMM’s court said such decisions were not useful as facts and circumstances of the present case were at hand, adding that the cited supra decisions differed from each other.
“The same are related to the powers of the Sessions Court and the High Court. Considering all these aspects, the bail applications filed by the accused are not maintainable before this court. The same are required to be rejected,” he added.
When the matter came up for hearing earlier on Friday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh had challenged the bail pleas claiming the magistrate court had no jurisdiction to hear such applications in this matter.
A lawyer connected to the case said Aryan Khan has approached sessions court for bail and the hearing is likely to be held on Monday.
The three and others were held after the NCB raided a Goa-bound cruise ship on the evening of October 2.
Meanwhile, the magistrate court on Saturday sent Achit Kumar, who was held based on the statement of Khan and Merchant, to judicial custody.
The NCB has claimed Kumar used to supply drugs to the duo.