‘Harbouring offender’: NCB defends imposition of stringent law on Rhea Chakraborty

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The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has told the Bombay high court that if a person does not disclose the fact of drug consumption by another person, it will amount to ‘harbouring’ of an offender.

The NCB made the submission on Tuesday to justify the invocation of Section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against film actor Rhea Chakrabory and four others in relation to alleged drug procurement for late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Section 27A deals with ‘financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders’, and attracts a punishment in the range of ten to twenty years of rigorous imprisonment.

The lawyers for Rhea and other co-accused submitted that the accused cannot be said to have ‘harboured’ Sushant as he was living in his own apartment and also Sushant was not under the apprehension of arrest at any point of time.

Responding to this, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh submitted on behalf of the NCB : “If somebody known to me is consuming drugs…consumption is illegal..and I am not telling this to anyone…not disclosing it to police…then it can be brought under the definition of ‘harbouring’(under Section 27A).”

Justice SV Kotwal asked if it was necessary to make arrest always under the NDPS cases if the intention is to reform drug addicts.

Singh replied, any person who procures drugs needs to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Act for deterrent effect.

He also said that in drug cases, recovery is not necessary and if the court sees the entire syndicate, drugs were not delivered only to Sushant.

“Brother of Rhea was in contact with every drug dealer. The person (Sushant) may not be alive. But that does not mean that the offence goes,” he added.

Refuting the NCB allegation that Rhea, along with her brother Showik, “financed” the drug purchases of her boyfriend and late actor Sushant , her lawyer Satish Maneshinde told the Bombay high court that “Rajput was in no dearth of funds”.

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