By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Oct 17 (IANS): Delivering stinging punches, former Attorney General of India (AGI) Mukul Rohatgi has said that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is like "an Ostrich with its head buried in the sand", while the poor rich boy Aryan Khan is "paying the price for being a celeb".
Rohatgi said the law clearly states that "bail is the norm, jail is an exception" and the issue settled many years ago by the Supreme Court, since the most established tenet of the Constitution is the 'Right to Life' and 'Right to Liberty', not only for Indians, but also foreigners in India.
If they want to give him (Khan) bail, it can be done right away, even on public holidays, he unequivocally declared on a private news channel as others were all attentive ears.
"Its incredible that someone remains inside (jail) for so many days without seizure of drugs or any other proof. No medical consumption, so no consumption. How can he be held in custody when the max sentence would be one year, assuming he was found with drugs," Rohatgi asserted.
Other prominent personalities who whipped the NCB included Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari, designated as MoS, top-notch lawyers Vikas Singh and Dr. Pinky Anand, both former Additional Solicitor-Generals of India.
Elsewhere, the Nationalist Congress Party National Spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik is meticulously 'investigating' the NCB's skeletons, catching it by surprise and rattling its super-sleuths -- reminiscent of a similar probe of an ex-CBI Director undertaken by a group of intrepid journos in the late-1980s.
Rohatgi also trashed the NCB's dark theories of "international conspiracy" wondering who will believe that he (Khan) is a peddler or needed money so was doing it for money, plus he was not even a passenger on the cruise ship but a mere invitee, maybe impromptu at the last minute.
"WhatsApp chats are not evidence unless due procedures of law are followed... Confessions of an accused are not admissible as evidence without proper safeguards... In this case, (Khan) is clearly paying the price of being a celeb," Rohatgi said.
He dismissively said that such 'run of the mill cases' come up by dozens daily and nobody even bothers about them, but because here a personality like Aryan Khan was involved the NCB is unwilling to listen to reason.
Rohatgi's censure of the NCB came even as Khan and the other (male) co-accused, were dumped from a quarantine cell to a general cell, in the august company of other hardcore criminals in the Arthur Road Central Jail (ARCJ), which once housed the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab.
Now, since his detention on October 2, and 16 nights away from the 'jannat'(heaven) of Shah Rukh Khan's iconic sea-facing bungalow 'Mannat' (prayer) in Bandra west, Aryan has changed to regular jail attire. albeit non-designer variety, with 'N956' allotted as his under-trial prisoner roll-call number.
Last week, the celeb cub was permitted to make an emotional video-call with the Bollywood Lion King Khan and his wife Gauri amid reports that his sister Suhana had taken ill at her brother's continuing stints in custody.
Though no 'special' treatment is given to Aryan or the other youngsters lodged in separate barracks, each received a money order of Rs 4,500 from their families as per jail rules for subsistence.
They can spend this money to buy foods of their choice from the modest menu of the ARCJ -- a far cry from Aryan dad's generous wads of allowances and specially designed lavish cuisines -- no matter, if he occasionally has to take 'appointments' to meet his Pa at home.
Finally, pulling the NCB's ears, Rohatgi said given the changed values in modern times, instead of harassing youngsters, the NCB should go after and nab those who are enticing the youth by supplying such 'poisons' (drugs) whether in Punjab or Mumbai or anywhere in the country.