| Sahil Zaroo at the Delhi court. Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi, June 12: Rahul Mahajan’s bail plea will come up tomorrow, but not in the court of the metropolitan magistrate who has been trying the drug abuse case that has landed him in jail.
Special court judge N.K. Gupta, before whom Rahul was produced today, turned down his plea to let the case continue in the magistrate’s court, and said a court designated under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act will try him.
The judge said a magistrate has “no power to grant bail in a case” that can be tried by a special court. The “only power” with the magistrate, Gupta added, “is in case it deems that further detention is unnecessary, it can refer the matter to the special court”.
The judge ordered magistrate A.K. Chaturvedi to immediately transfer the case file to the designated special court.
Gupta’s order came after yesterday’s police petition that challenged the magistrate’s power to try the case. The police feel the special court would be stricter than the magistrate, who granted them Rahul’s custody for two days instead of the 10 they had sought.
Rahul, who is now in judicial custody in Tihar, reportedly turned pale after hearing Gupta’s order.
The court said the charge of financing illegal trafficking of drugs has brought the case out of the jurisdiction of the magistrate and into the realm of the special court.
The judge also said the prosecution should be careful with its arguments after the police claimed Rahul paid co-accused Sahil Zaroo Rs 15,000 to buy the drugs, which he allegedly gave to his father’s secretary Bibek Moitra who died apparently after consuming them. “Are you saying Rahul Mahajan is guilty of culpable homicide, too'” Gupta asked.
“You should be careful, public prosecutor. Your arguments are pointing to a train of thought that Rahul had given Moitra the drug and ultimately brought about his death.' This would amount to culpable homicide (murder without the intention).”
The police had contended they had “ample evidence” from Sahil’s disclosure statement that Rahul had given him the money to buy the drugs. They are also banking on another statement in which, they claimed, Sahil told them that Rahul asked him to keep the balance of Rs 2,500, to be adjusted the “next time”.
Sahil, who was produced in court today on completion of his eight-day police remand, was sent to judicial custody till June 22.
A team from Maharashtra police filed an application before the judge seeking Sahil’s custody in connection with a shahtoosh shawl smuggling case in Mumbai. The judge told the team to approach the Delhi district judge.