Is bail to Rhea a setback for NCB?

The High Court sets aside NCB's claim that Rhea is "an active member of a drug syndicate"

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The Bombay HC had asked earlier if there is any statutory mechanism to regulate the content broadcast by electronic media. File photo: PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday (October 7) granted bail to actor Rhea Chakraborty and said she was not part of a drug dealers’ syndicate. The court order can be seen as a setback for the Narcotics Control Bureau, which has accused the 28-year-old actor of being “an active member of a drug syndicate”.

The High Court also noted that the investigation had found Sushant Singh Rajput used to procure drugs and was helped in doing so by many others.

The Bombay High Court’s observations can be summarized as follows:

1.       Rhea Chakraborty has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn money or any other benefits. She can be granted bail because she has no criminal antecedents and so unlikely to commit any offence while on bail.

2.       The judge stated: “I am unable to agree with the submission that giving money to another for consuming drugs would mean encouraging such a habit and would mean ‘financing’ or ‘harbouring’ as envisaged under Section 27A of the NDPS Act (law on financing drugs, directly or indirectly).”

3.       The NCB probe so far gives no evidence on any commercial amount of drugs found either with Rhea Chakraborty or in the house of Sushant Singh Rajput.

4.       The judge disagreed that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets a good example for the youngsters. “I do not agree. 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.”

5.       The fact that the NCB did not seek her custody means they were satisfied with her interrogation and that she had cooperated during investigation, the judge observed.

Also read: Bail for Rhea: Mumbai cops warn media ‘not to chase celebrities’

Conditions on which Rhea was granted bail:

1.       Deposit passport

2.       Report to Mumbai police every day for 10 days

3.       Furnish bail bond of INR 1 lakh

4.       No permission to leave country

5.       Cannot meet with any other witness

6.       Must inform investigating officer if she is going out of Greater Mumbai

7.       Report on the first Monday of every month before NCB, for six months

8.       Attend all dates in court unless prevented by any reasonable cause

9.       Not to tamper with evidence or investigation of the case

Though Rhea was granted bail, her brother Showik was denied the benefit. Both were arrested in September first week on the charges of arranging drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput, a 34-year-old movie star who was found dead in his Mumbai home on June 14.

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