The bail granted to actor Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant Singh Rajput case in October last year by the Bombay High Court has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The case will be heard on Thursday.
Ms Chakraborty had been granted bail with conditions nearly a month after her arrest over drugs-related charges in the death of her actor boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput last year. She was asked to submit a Rs 1 lakh bond and told not leave the country without the court’s permission.
Earlier this month, the NCB had named 33 people, including Ms Chakraborty and her brother Showik, in a chargesheet filed before a special court in Mumbai. The document of nearly 12,000 pages had statements recorded of more than 200 witnesses.
She was accused of being “an active member of a drugs syndicate” and financing narcotics used by Sushant Singh Rajput.
Refuting the charges, her lawyer Satish Maneshinde called the chargesheet “a damp squib”. “The entire amount of ‘Narcotic Substances’ ‘Recovered’ against 33 accused are nothing compared to what even a constable in Mumbai Police or Narcotics Cell or the Airport Customs or other agencies recover from one raid or trap,” he said.
Rhea Chakraborty was arrested on September 8 by the Narcotics Control Bureau on charges of organising drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14 last year.
The High Court, while granting bail, said Rhea Chakraborty “is not part of a chain of drug dealers” and “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 order said.
The court also disagreed with the drugs agency’s argument that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly to set an example.
In her bail petition, Rhea Chakraborty had said that she and her brother Showik were sole targets of a witch-hunt by multiple agencies who had found no evidence incriminating her.
She had alleged that Sushant Singh Rajput “took advantage of those closest to him to sustain his drug habit” and that she had tried to rid him of it.
She also said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and his family abandoned him at the peak of his depression. His mental health “deteriorated during the lockdown”, she claimed, adding that the deaths of actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor also had a tremendous impact on him.
Rhea Chakraborty also argued that the charges against her were too severe compared to the quantity of the drugs involved. She accused the drugs probe agency of spinning a false narrative that she was involved in illegal drugs trafficking and “harboured offenders”.
The CBI is investigating the circumstances of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and the Enforcement Directorate is looking into financial allegations raised by the actor’s father.
The Narcotics Control Bureau stepped into the Sushant Singh Rajput investigations when WhatsApp chats retrieved from Rhea Chakraborty’s phone revealed alleged conversations involving the procuring of drugs.
Several top actors have been questioned by the anti-drugs bureau in a widening probe into drugs and the film industry.