This article has been written by Nikhat Suhail. Picture credits to indianlink.com.au
Sushant Singh Rajput was an Indian actor who was best known for his work in Hindi cinema (renowned as Bollywood). He was born in the year 1986 and died on 14th June 2020. The post-mortem report stated that the cause of death was “asphyxia due to hanging,” and called it a “clear case of suicide.” The 34-year-old Actor was a renowned Bollywood star and had quite a fandom with his extraordinary acting skills. It was acclaimed that the self-made actor was not a product of Nepotism from the B-town and was thus always left alone. After the actor committed suicide without leaving a note behind it was alleged that depression took the best of him and the long-faced difficulty of being a misfit in the industry even after having great talent was too heavy to hold anymore. Amidst all this, since the actor was an infamous celebrity, media and social media followed every inch of his last rites until the body was cremated, due to which there was a public outrage as the lacunae in the procedures were quite visible and people started speculating if it really was murder. A lot of fingers were raised until on the 25th of July, Rajput’s family lodged a first information report with police in Patna, where his father lives, accusing Rhea Chakraborty(Sushant’s Girlfriend) and five others of abetment of suicide. Campaigns started running under the hashtag of CBI for SSR throughout the social media after, the police showed a lack of interest in the procedure and people became outrageous on the matter due to which, On 19 August 2020, the Supreme Court of India allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Indian national government’s top investigating agency, to take control of the investigation and ordered the CBI to look into any future cases registered in relation to Rajput’s death. Acting on information provided by the Enforcement Directorate on WhatsApp chats allegedly related to “banned drugs”, The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on 27th August filed a criminal case against actor Rhea Chakraborty and three of her acquaintances under several sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, claiming proof about the consumption of banned substances.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985 provides provisions that help in making stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Narcotics Control Bureau also known as NCB was made responsible for administering The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which Is affiliated to the Home Ministry directly.
Registered Offences and its definitions
SECTION 20 (b) 2
Punishment for contravention in relation to cannabis plant and cannabis:
- cultivates any cannabis plant or
- produces, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-State, exports inter-State or uses cannabis,
shall be punishable
- where such contravention relates to clause (a) with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees; and
- where such contravention relates to sub-clause (b),—
(A) and involves small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to [one year], or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both;
(B) and involves quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees;
(C) and involves commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees.
Punishment for contravention in relation to psychotropic substances:
Whoever, in contravention of any provision of this Act or any rule or order made or condition of the license granted thereunder, manufactures, possesses, sells, purchases, transports, imports inter-State, exports inter-State
or uses any psychotropic substance shall be punishable,—
(a) where the contravention involves small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to [one year], or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both;
(b) where the contravention involves quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees;
(c) where the contravention involves commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees:
Punishment for financing illicit traffic and harboring offenders:
Whoever indulges in the financing, directly or indirectly, any, of the activities specified in sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viiia) of section 2 or harbours any person engaged in any of the aforementioned activities, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees
Punishment for attempts to commit offenses:
Whoever attempts to commit any offense punishable under this Chapter or to cause such offense to be committed and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offense shall be punishable with the punishment provided for the offense.
Punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy:
(1) Whoever abets, or is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit, an offense punishable under this Chapter, shall, whether such offense be or be not committed in consequence of such abetment or in pursuance of such criminal conspiracy, and notwithstanding anything contained in section 116 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), be punishable with the punishment provided for the offense.
(2) A person abets, or is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit, an offense, within the meaning of this section, who, in India, abets or is a party to the criminal conspiracy to the commission of any act in a place without and beyond India which—
(a) would constitute an offense if committed within India; or
(b) under the laws of such place, is an offense relating to narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances having all the legal conditions required to constitute it such an offense the same as or analogous to the legal conditions required to constitute it an offense punishable under this Chapter, if committed within India.
If any person makes preparation to do or omits to do anything which constitutes an offence punishable under any of the provisions of [sections 19, 24 and 27A and for offences involving commercial quantity of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance and from the circumstances of the case] it may be reasonably inferred that he was determined to carry out his intention to commit the offence it may be reasonably inferred that he was determined to carry out his intention to commit the offence but had been prevented by circumstances independent of his will, he shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one-half of the minimum term (if any), but which may extend to one-half of the maximum term, of imprisonment with which he would have been punishable in the event of his having committed such offence, and also with fine which shall not be less than one-half of the minimum amount (if any), of fine with which he would have been punishable, but which may extend to one-half of the maximum amount of fine with which he would have ordinarily (that is to say in the absence of special reasons) been punishable, in the event aforesaid
The Bail pleas of the accused have been rejected as the provisions of bail for the NDPS Act have been made more stringent considering the kind of offenses that are destroying the structure of the society. The federal drug agency told the Bombay High Court that the case concerns the entire society and is a non-bailable offense.
Role of NCB in the Instant case and Conclusion
The footing of the case here concocted for the NCB when based on his father’s complaint alleging abetment of suicide, cheating, and criminal conspiracy, the Patna Police later registered an FIR against Bollywood actor Rhea Chakraborty. He alleged that ₹15 crores were transferred from Sushant’s account within a short period of time. Subsequently, the ED also instituted a money-laundering case. During the investigation, ED found some electronic evidence through Rhea and her Brothers WhatsApp Chats regarding illegal drugs and other contraband substances. It was then the NCB was involved when the ED provided the chats to the NCB department and asked for further investigation.
The NCB is currently looking into this matter and has made several arrests under the NDPS act of 1985. Several high-profile actors, including Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, and Sara Ali Khan, have also been questioned in the drugs case. The NCB is still doing the investigation and has made a statement clearing that elucidates the agenda of digging deep until answers are found.
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