Actor Rhea Chakraborty, 28,was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. She had been in the Byculla jail after being arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on September 8 in a drug case after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
She was directed to be released from jail on furnishing a PR bond of ₹1 lakh with one or two sureties in the amount.
Justice SV Kotwal said, “The investigation did not reveal any recovery either from Rhea or from the house of Sushant Singh Rajput. It is their own case that the drugs were already consumed and hence there was no recovery. In that case there is nothing at this stage to show that Rhea had committed any offence involving commercial quantity of contraband. The material at the highest shows that she has committed an offence involving contraband but the crucial element of incurring rigorous of section 37 [offences to be cognizable and non-bailable] in respect of commercial quantity is missing.”
The court added, “Therefore, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant that is Rhea is not guilty of any offence punishable under sections 19 [punishment for embezzlement of opium by cultivator], 24 [punishment for external dealings in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances] or 27A [punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders] [of the Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act] or any other offence involving commercial quantity. There are no other criminal antecedents against her she is not part of the chain of drug dealers. She has not forwarded the drugs illegally procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits. Since she has no criminal antecedents there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.”
Elucidating the charge of financing, the court said, “Simply providing money for a particular transaction or other transactions will not be financing of that activity. The allegations against the Applicant [Ms. Chakraborty] of spending money in procuring drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput will not, mean that she had financed illicit traffic.”
The 70-page-order mentioned, “Everybody is equal before law no celebrity or a role model enjoy 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.”
The single Bench of Justice S.V. Kotwal also granted bail to Samuel Miranda , the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s manager, and Dipesh Sawant , Rajput’s domestic help. However, the court rejected the bail pleas of Ms. Chakraborty’s brother Showik and an alleged drug peddler, Abdel Parihar. They continue to remain at Taloja Central Jail.
Mr. Miranda and Mr. Sawant have been granted cash bail of ₹50,000 each. Their lawyers sought time to make the cash payment citing the pandemic.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for NCB, sought a stay on all the bail pleas granted, which was not allowed.
The court heard all the bail applications on September 29 and then reserved judgment.
The accused were charged under various sections of the Narcotics Drugs Pyschotropic Substances Act.
Mr. Singh had argued earlier that in drug cases, recovery was not necessary. There were precedents. If the court considered the entire syndicate, drugs were not delivered only to Rajput. Showik was in contact with every drug dealer. The person (Sushant) may not be alive, but that does not mean that the offence had gone, he said.
He added, “Just because the consumer of the drugs has died, it does not mean that the others cannot be punished. This is not a case related only to Sushant Singh Rajput. There is no case that Rajput died due to drug consumption. The transactions are not restricted to him. So, his death will not affect the investigation.”
The NCB began its investigation after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which was probing money laundering charges linked to the case, shared some social media chats retrieved from Rhea Chakraborty’s mobile phone, hinting at the alleged use of banned drugs.
Rajput (34) was found hanging at his residence in suburban Bandra on June 14.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is separately probing a case against Rhea Chakraborty and others for allegedly abetting the actor’s suicide.