A Mumbai court has granted bail to Sameer Khan, son-in-law of Cabinet Minister and National Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik in connection with a drugs case (Sameer Khan v. Narcotics Control Bureau).
Khan, along with two other accused, Rahila Furniturewala and Karan Sejnani, were arraigned in offences under Sections 8(c), 20(b)(C), 27A, 27, 28 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) alleged that Khan, Furniturewala and Sejnani had conspired to procure, sell, purchase and transport 194.6 kg of ganja and 6 CBD (cannabidiol) sprays, categorised as commercial quantity.
They claimed that Khan’s role in the case was for selling the contraband and financing illicit trafficking in the business.
Special NDPS Judge AA Joglekar however relied upon the Chemical Analyser’s report submitted on the seizures which stated that out of the 18 samples which were forwarded for analysis apparently 11 were found to be negative on the aspect of detection of cannabis.
Based on this fact, the Court also noted that prosecution’s theory of “invoking Section 29 fails and apart from that contention nothing is brought on record to prove connivance”.
The Court also observed that nothing except the statement of Khan and co-accused was relied upon by the prosecution to show recovery of contraband and his involvement in the connivance.
“Apart from this there is no any material to specifically contribute the role of the applicant / accused placed on record by the prosecution more especially in the light of the fact that the recovered contraband in prima-facie as per CA report cannot be held under the ambit of commercial quantity,” the Court noted.
Sejnani was arrested by NCB after contraband weighing 26 grams of substance purported to be marijuana was recovered from him and after interrogations and recording of statements, Khan came to be arrested in January 2021.
Khan’s earlier bail application came to be rejected on the ground that investigation was ongoing. However, once chargesheet was filed, Khan moved for fresh bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Khan contended that he had been falsely implicated in the case based on a statement of a co-accused, which was not legally admissible evidence.
He further added that he had been arrested on the basis of WhatsApp chats and other material.
Khan claimed that he is an entrepreneur dealing in tobacco products and was under a reasonable belief that he was in fact dealing in tobacco products and had proposed to introduce a new product in the market.
On the contraband seized, Khan submitted that in the absence of mentioning of the flowering or fruiting tops which is essential to know the psychoactive constituent, the substance cannot be termed as ganja or a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
The Court noted that the criminal act of intention, preparation, attempt and commission were difficult to be located to show culpable mental stage as Khan himself admitted to business activity in nicotine.
Undoubtedly certain contraband was supposedly cannabis or its offshoot, but the quantum was not enough to attract rigours of Section 37 and hence bail was granted upon furnishing a bail bond of ₹50,000.
Advocate Tareq Sayed appeared for Khan.
Special Public Prosecutor Sarpande appeared for NCB.