Mumbai, Jan 26: Thursday’s court ruling is sure to give actor Fardeen Khan a high. For, he may never be tried for possessing cocaine, registered against him six years ago.
Special (NDPS) judge PN Deshmukh said Fardeen was entitled to apply for legal amnesty available to first time offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychtropic substances Act. Investigation papers have shown that Fardeen had bought and possessed one gram of cocaine and not nine gram as the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) sought to represent.
“Fardeen would also be entitled to a one-time immunity to prosecution if he completed a detoxification treatment,” the actor’s lawyer Ayaz Khan said.
The quantity of drug governed the gravity of an offence and its punishment. Since May 2001, the law recognises two categories of drug offences. Offenders, who possessed a small quantity for ‘personal consumption’, were sent to jail for one year or less. All other offenders were liable to imprisonment for at least 10 years.
Fardeen’s third application, filed in July 2007, asked the court to specify the exact charges against him. Usha Sisodia, prosecutor for the NCB, had argued on all three occasions that Fardeen and five others should be prosecuted for possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine. When charges are framed in the case on February 8, Fardeen will be tried for possessing and conspiring to buy one gram of cocaine.