Custody cannot be granted on vague grounds, noted a magistrate court on Thursday while rejecting the NCB's plea seeking further remand of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, and seven others arrested in a case pertaining to alleged seizure of banned drugs aboard a cruise ship here.
The court then sent the accused to jail under 14-day judicial custody and they soon filed bail applications which will be heard on Friday.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) made a strong plea for an extension of custody of Aryan Khan (23) and the other accused, saying they need to be confronted with another man arrested in the case to unearth the "chain of conspiracy".
Aryan Khan and two other accused Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant were arrested by the NCB on October 3 following a raid on the Goa-bound cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.
They were first remanded in one-day NCB custody which was later extended till October 7 by the court. The other five were arrested on October 4 and remanded in NCB custody till October 7.
They all were produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar at the end of their earlier remand.
The drug law enforcement agency sought extension of their custody till October 11. The NCB told the court they have arrested one Acchit Kumar based on statements given by Aryan Khan and Merchant.
The custody of Khan and others was required to confront them with Kumar for unearthing the "chain of conspiracy", it said.
Judge, after hearing the arguments put forth by advocates of all the accused, said the gist of the NCB plea is that it requires the custody of the accused to confront them with Kumar.
Kumar was arrested of Wednesday evening. He was produced before the court on Thursday and remanded in NCB custody till October 9.
The court said considering the time of Kumar's arrest, when both Aryan and Kumar were in NCB custody and till his production before the court, nothing was investigated.
Further, it was rightly argued by defence advocates that the investigating agency was required to give details of probe conducted so far, but the same was not reflected in their remand extension application, it said.
The court mentioned that custody cannot be granted without a "cogent reason".
The probe agency's remand application doesn't disclose sufficient ground to grant (further) custody of the accused.
"The ground mentioned are vague and custody cannot be granted based on vague grounds," the judged noted.
Sufficient time was given to the probe agency (for custodial interrogation of the accused), the court said and rejected its plea for remand extension.
Meanwhile, after being remanded in 14-day judicial custody, Aryan Khan and the other accused sought bail from the court. Their pleas will be heard on Friday.
In a related development, Sameer Wankhede, Zonal Director, NCB, requested the court to keep the accused at the probe agency's office in the city as jail doesn't admit prisoners without COVID-19 test report.
The court granted the request as no objection was raised by the defence.
Based on a tip-off that a party was scheduled on the ship, an NCB team, led by Wankhede, raided the Goa-bound 'Cordelia' cruise ship on Saturday evening and allegedly recovered drugs.