After spending a month in jail, actress Rhea Chakraborty was granted bail by the Bombay High Court. She, along with her brother Showik Chakraborty had applied for bail after their judicial custody was extended two weeks ago. While Rhea was granted bail, Showik’s plea was rejected.
Rhea Chakraborty was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on September 8 on the charges of procuring drugs. They even accused her of being an “active member of a drug syndicate”. The court in its verdict today squashed accusations made by the NCB and said that she was not a part of a chain of drug dealers.
Here are some of the main points made by the judge in the bail verdict:
* I am unable to agree with the submission that giving money to another for consuming drugs would mean encouraging such a habit and would mean “financing” or “harbouring” as envisaged under Section 27A of the NDPS Act. (law on financing drugs, directly or indirectly).
* The investigation did not reveal any recovery of any commercial amount of drugs either from Rhea Chakraborty or from the house of Sushant Singh Rajput. There is nothing at this stage to show that (Rhea) had committed any offence involving commercial quantity of contraband.
* I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the Applicant is not guilty of any offence punishable under Sections 19, 24 or 27A 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 allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary 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.
* The learned ASG had argued that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets an example for the young generation and they do not get encouraged to commit such offences. I do not agree. Everybody is equal before law. No celebrity or role model enjoys any special privilege before the Court of law. Similarly, such a 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.
* There is no basis for the worry that Rhea Chakraborty can alert other witnesses or destroy evidence. Noting that the bureau did not seek her custody, the judge said that meant they are satisfied with her interrogation and she had cooperated in that investigation.
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