Drugs case key points: Probe reveals Aryan Khan's role in conspiracy, illegal procurement and consumption

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Times of India 13 October, 2021 - 10:16am 9 views

Say No to Drugs: Clear message from Aryan Khan's arrest

Gulf News 13 October, 2021 - 11:10am

As we all know, recreational drug consumption is rampant in many parts of the world, especially among the affluent sections of society. The fact that most of these drugs are banned or illegal does not prevent their widespread use.

Among the rich and famous in multiple Indian cities, it is hardly a secret that drug abuse is frequent. In many parties, banned substances are freely available and circulated.

When people take a rest or leave the dance floor only to return with a sudden spurt of extra energy, a euphoric expression on their faces, an especially dazzling smile, or enhanced shine in their eyes, one can easily guess that they’ve just helped themselves to something extra.

Taking drugs, in other words, is not at all unusual or especially frowned upon. What is not socially acceptable, however, is making a scene or mess of oneself. Addiction, of course, is the dirty, dark secret which most well-off families will give an arm and a leg to keep under wraps. But these things can never be totally hidden. People talk; the word gets around eventually. Shame, sorrow, and trauma follow.

Speaking of addiction, it is a serious problem in India, especially in border states like Punjab and Manipur. Unlike recreational drugs, it also destroys the lives of the poor, underprivileged, and most vulnerable sections of society. No one, whether rich, middle class, or poor is exempt from it.

And the consequences are devastating for all. The luckier ones are able to get help and go into rehab. Chances of recovery are good if the addict has the will power in addition to a good support system. But full recovery and rehabilitation, not to mention gainful employment or restoration of social status, are much harder to reclaim.

This brings us to the crux of the problem. The word “drug” encompasses a wide variety of different meanings and connotations. On the one hand, it refers to medicines which can save lives. On the other hand, it may denote narcotic, psychotropic, intoxicating, and other highly harmful substances.

Even among the latter, cannabis, which is milder and less addictive, is already legal in some places. But at the other end of the spectrum are dangerous and dependence-inducing “hard” drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Yet the truth is that drugs in some form or other, especially products of the poppy such as opium, have been in use from the dawn of civilisation. Not only as painkillers but as mood-enhancers.

It would seem that humankind has always needed some drug or the other to make reality palatable, to lessen the essential suffering of existence itself. As T S Eliot famously said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”

Is it any surprise, then, that alcohol, which is legal in most parts of the world, is the worst and most harmful drug on the planet? Unless you consider tobacco also an addictive drug, whose abuse is even more widespread.

The economic damage and workplace losses caused by alcohol abuse are colossal, running into billions of dollars. In addition, the personal tragedies resulting from alcoholism, including broken families and abusive relationships, is inestimable. No wonder some religious traditions totally prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

Yet, alcohol is not only legal, but available in many parts of the world. Its consumption is shown in movies, TV shows, and on OTT platforms. In fact, alcohol-related content, studies show, is so extensive on these media that some believe that the entire entertainment industry would collapse without it.

Others argue that alcohol is the key social lubricant without which interaction with fellow humans would become practically unbearable.

According to WHO and other sources, if deaths related to alcohol and smoking are added up, we reach a staggering figure of over 5 million for 2021 so far, more than those killed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Keeping these facts in mind, let us return to the question of Aryan’s arrest. Celebrities, especially Bollywood stars, are especially vulnerable given their high-pressure lifestyles and constant public attention. Have we forgotten the suicide of Sushant Singh Rathore, which is also allegedly drug-related?

As the son of a superstar, Aryan might already shoulder a huge expectation complex. To be shamed and degraded in this scandal will only add to his troubles.

That is why the public post of another Bollywood hero Hrithik Roshan is so commendable: “Life is a strange ride … it throws you curve balls, but God is kind. He gives only the toughest ones the toughest balls to play. … The anger, the confusion, the helplessness. … those same ingredients could burn away the good stuff ... the kindness, the compassion, the love. Allow yourself to burn, but just enough.”

As an experienced elder, Roshan exhorts the younger Aryan to “Keep calm. Observe. These moments are the makers of your Tom[orrow]. And Tom[orrow] is going to have a brilliant sun shining. But for it, you must go thru the dark. … And trusting the light. Within. It’s always there. Love you man.”

Hrithik’s letter is reminiscent of “Hey Jude,” the song Paul McCartney wrote to comfort Julian, when the latter’s dad, fellow-Beatle, John Lennon, left Julian’s mother for Yoko one. To my mind, Hrithik’s gesture to reach out publicly to Aryan shows the Mumbai film industry at its best.

In troubled times, they not only help out the nation, but also one another. Even someone perceived to be in the opposite camp, Kangna Ranaut, posted “We make mistakes but we mustn’t glorify them ... I trust this will give him perspective and also make him realise consequences of his actions ... Hopefully it can evolve him and make him better and bigger.”

What is the lesson from all this? First of all, that drugs constitute a complex issue with multiple dimensions. Also, that it is most unfortunate that Aryan, as a young man with a bright future, is going through this harrowing episode.

Although such questions may come to mind, it is not for us to speculate whether he is really as guilty as alleged, whether the laws are too harsh, or whether government agencies are going overboard in targeting celebrities.

Counterarguments, such as some sadhus or Indian holy men also “smoke up” in cities such as Varanasi but are never arrested, are also somewhat beside the point.

The lesson that people like us should draw and firmly convey to our kids is far more simpler and direct: Say no to drugs. Period.

Makarand R. Paranjape is a Professor of English at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Views are perso

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Probe reveals Aryan Khan's role in conspiracy, illegal procurement and consumption of drugs: NCB to court

The Tribune India 13 October, 2021 - 11:10am

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Accused No 1 (Aryan Khan) used to procure contraband from accused No 2 (Arbaaz Merchant) and the sources connected, NCB says in its affidavit

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The Narcotics Control Bureau on Wednesday opposed the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, arrested in connection with the seizure of banned drugs on board a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast, saying the probe so far has revealed his role in the conspiracy and illicit procurement and consumption of drugs.

The NCB in its affidavit also said that Aryan Khan was in touch with some persons, who appear to be a part of an international drug network for procurement of drugs.

Further probe is on with regard to financial transactions done abroad, the agency said.

“During initial investigation, some international linkages pertinent to this applicant (Aryan Khan) have been unearthed which prima facie indicate towards illicit drug procurement. The investigation requires sufficient time so as to approach the foreign agency concerned,” the affidavit said.

The NCB also submitted in the affidavit that the case of each of the accused cannot be considered individually or separately, as prima facie investigation reveals that there is a close link/nexus among all the accused, including Aryan Khan, for conspiracy to commit offences.

“It is not feasible to dissect or separate each from the other. All ingredients of crime, that are preparation, intention, attempt and commission, are present for this applicant (Aryan Khan),” the affidavit said.

The NCB submitted its affidavit in response to the bail plea filed by Aryan Khan before special judge V V Patil, designated to hear matters related to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The judge is currently hearing the bail plea. Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3 following a raid on the Goa-bound cruise ship and is presently in judicial custody.

 He is lodged at the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai. He approached the special court seeking bail after a magistrate's court rejected the same last week.

 “It is prima facie revealed that accused No 1 (Aryan Khan) used to procure contraband from accused No 2 (Arbaaz Merchant) and the sources connected to accused No 2, from whose conscious possession six grams of Charas was recovered,” the NCB said in its affidavit.

 It further said the material collated during investigation primarily revealed that Aryan Khan has a role in illicit procurement and distribution of the contraband.

 As per investigations carried out so far, accused Aachit Kumar and Shivraj Harijan had supplied Charas to Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant, the anti-drugs agency said.

 “The role and involvement of this applicant (Aryan Khan) in the commission of grave and serious offences under the NDPS Act, including illicit drug trafficking, is apparent considering the nexus and connection of this applicant with the other accused in the case,” the NCB said.

 All the accused are inextricably connected and hence, it is not possible to dissect the role of each accused from the other, it added.

 Prima facie investigation reveals a close nexus between all the accused persons and their involvement in conspiracy to commit illegal acts cannot be ruled out, the agency further said.

 “The case of each applicant cannot be considered in isolation. All these persons are an integral part of a common thread which cannot be separated or dissected from one another. In such a situation, the quantum of recovery (of drugs) from one accused becomes inconsequential,” the NCB said in the affidavit.

 “Even though from some of the accused there is no recovery or less recovery of contraband, the participation by acts of such persons, who have acted in concert, conspiracy forms the basis of the investigation,” it said.

 From the investigation, it is revealed that all the accused persons form a part of a "larger chain/nexus" and their involvement in the conspiracy to commit illegal acts and violations under Section 29 of the NDPS Act cannot be ruled out, the affidavit said.

 Section 29 of the NDPS Act pertains to abetment to commit an offence or criminal conspiracy.

The NCB further said there have been several seizures of intermediary quantities of drugs from Aryan Khan's co-accused and there has also been seizure of commercial quantities of Mephedrone from one accused – Abdul Sheikh.

 It said the allegations that the accused have been falsely implicated are untrue and misleading, as there is sufficient material in the form of WhatsApp chats and photographs which show the ingredients of conspiracy.

 “Considering the influence that Aryan Khan holds in the society, it is very much possible that he may tamper with evidence and influence other witnesses whom he personally knows,” the affidavit said, adding there is also a possibility of the accused fleeing justice.

 The court is also hearing the bail pleas filed by Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Satija, Aachit Kumar, Mohak Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer and Avin Sahu.

 So far, 20 people have been arrested in the case. PTI

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The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.

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