Press Trust of india

Cruise drugs case: PIL in SC seeks CBI probe, direction to Centre to frame witness protection scheme

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New Delhi: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the Mumbai drugs-on-cruise case alleging that there has been interference in the ongoing probe of the Narcotics Control Bureau in the matter.

The case involves Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and others as accused and has triggered a series of controversies and put the bureau and its officials under the spotlight.

The public interest litigation (PIL) has also sought a direction to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to frame the national witness protection scheme as recommended in various reports of the Law Commission.

Aryan Khan, along with co-accused Arbaaz Merchant and fashion model Munmun Dhamecha, was granted bail on Thursday by the Bombay High Court, 25 days after he was arrested during a drug raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.

Lawyer M L Sharma, in the PIL filed in his personal capacity, has referred to the controversies raised by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik against Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director Sameer Wankhede and others in the case, and sought a CBI probe into the entire case, including the alleged interference into the ongoing investigation of the NCB.

Besides seeking CBI probe, the plea also sought a direction for providing “protection to all the witnesses” to the instant case.

The PIL also raised the legality of a complaint lodged with the Mumbai Police by a local lawyer using the alleged disclosure of a bribe saga by one of the witnesses, Prabhakar Sail, in the case.

Raising a legal question for adjudication by the apex court, the PIL asked whether a minister may continue to hold his constitutional office even after “interfering” with the investigation and “maligning” the investigation officer.

“No one is allowed to interfere in the criminal justice systems. The State and state minister are duty bound to protect the Constitution and not to interfere in the investigation and criminal process,” it said.

“Witnesses are liable to be protected and not to be arrested and tortured to give favourable statements favouring the accused persons…,” the PIL said.

The NCB had busted an alleged drugs party on the Goa-bound Cordelia Cruise ship at mid-sea on October 2 and 20 people, including two Nigerian nationals, were arrested in the case.

Aryan Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha were arrested by the NCB on October 3 and booked under relevant sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) for possession, consumption, sale/purchase of banned drugs, conspiracy and abetment.




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