Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan has been granted bail on Thursday after three weeks in jail, by the Bombay High Court. The 23-year-old had been in custody since October 3 after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raided a cruise ship party. Aryan Khan had been jailed at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai from October 8 and was denied bail twice before, with his lawyers making repeated attempts in asserting that there were no drugs to link him in the case. In response, the NCB pointed out that Aryan's WhatsApp chats revealed his participation in the illegal drug trafficking and was part of a conspiracy. Aryan Khan's friend Arbaaz Merchant, and model Munmun Dhamecha have also been granted bail. The court will issue its detailed bail order tomorrow (Friday) and the three accused will be released from prison either by tomorrow or on Saturday.
The news of Aryan Khan's arrest and repeated denial of bail has led to a huge debate among fans on social media as to whether it is accounted for considering there was no evidence of consumption or recovery of any drugs. The defence team for Aryan included former Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi, who argued that the case against his client has been established based on two-year-old WhatsApp chats that are "irrelevant" and do not hold up with the one with the cruise. Mr Rohatgi stated, "These are young boys. They can be sent to rehab and they need not undergo trial. It had come in some newspaper that the social ministry was mentioning about reform. If you possess and consume a small quantity and are willing to go to rehab, you are not liable for prosecution." Last week, Aryan Khan was denied bail by the special anti-drugs court which said that he was well aware of the charas hidden in his friend Arbaaz Merchant's shoe, and this amounted to "conscious possession". Calling the court's statement as far-fetched, Mr Rohatgi argued, "I have no control over what is found in Arbaaz's shoes. There is no question of conscious possession. Arbaaz is not my servant, he is not in my control."
Today, the anti-drugs agency insisted that Aryan Khan has regularly consumed drugs, while adding that his WhatsApp chats indicate his procurement of "hard drugs". Furthermore, it stated that bail is only "an exception, not a rule" in these cases, as the Supreme Court had labelled drugs offences to be "worse than culpable homicide". Anil Singh, the Additional Solicitor General, representing the NCB said, "Accused number 1 (Aryan Khan) is not a first-time consumer. He is a regular consumer since the last few years and he has been procuring drugs. There is a reference of procuring drugs in commercial quantities and the drugs are hard drugs. He has been in contact with peddlers." Referring to Aryan's WhatsApp chats, the NCB said, "When the judge asked on what basis the agency had found him dealing in a commercial quantity." Mr Singh further added, "WhatsApp chat I am relying on will show he had made an attempt to deal with commercial quantity. Not only that, when they were apprehended on the ship, multiple drugs were found with all eight. It cannot be a coincidence. If you see the quantity and nature of drugs it cannot be a coincidence."
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