The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rahul on verge of collapse, gets jail

New Delhi, June 8: Rahul Mahajan, who nearly fainted in court today, was sent to judicial custody till June 22 and police were ordered to submit their investigation report in the narcotics case against him within 14 days.

The police have slapped fresh charges on Rahul under the narcotics act, accusing him of financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders. If found guilty, the son of the late BJP leader, Pramod Mahajan, could be sent to jail for a minimum of 10 years. He is already charged with possession and consumption of drugs under the same act.

“I am innocent. I am very ill,” Rahul said outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where he was taken by the police for a check-up.

His lawyer Sunil Mittal moved a bail application, which will be heard tomorrow. “I can’t see the reason why Delhi police are taking the case of Rahul Mahajan so personally. He did not look fit at all when he was taken to RML hospital before being produced in the court today. I don’t know how but the police got a report showing him in good health,” he said.

The police, who had sought five-day custody of Rahul on the plea that they wanted to take him to Mumbai, have moved court seeking permission to conduct various tests on Rahul ' polygraph (lie detector), brain-mapping and narco-analysis, among others. The appeal will be taken up later.

Deciding not to extend the police remand and send him to jail instead ' a relief for the accused, because there is threat of torture during interrogation in the lock-up ' magistrate A.K. Chaturvedi directed that the custody be in accordance with Rahul’s health. This means he will not have to share a cell with other convicts, and will get facilities like a fan or an air cooler.

Before Rahul was shifted to Tihar Jail, a medical examination recorded his blood pressure at 160/100 and palpitation. The normal pressure for a 31-year-old would be 120/80. The judge had ordered an immediate check-up after Rahul, who has been in police custody after being discharged from Apollo Hospital on Tuesday, nearly collapsed in court.

When Mittal questioned the prosecution’s failure to place on record the quantity and nature of drugs consumed at Mahajan’s 7 Safdarjung Road residence on Thursday night, the police pointed to co-accused Sahil Zaroo’s disclosure statement in which he has allegedly admitted to having purchased seven grams of heroin at Rahul’s behest.

The police also referred to four packets allegedly containing narcotic drugs that were recovered from Bibek Moitra’s clothes at the hospital. Bibek, who was a secretary of Pramod Mahajan, was declared dead on arrival at Apollo where he and Rahul had been rushed after they fell ill early on Friday morning.

The police have sent some more exhibits ' Rahul’s gastro lavage (stomach wash) gathered from Apollo, two champagne bottles each containing about 200 ml of fluid, a half-filled water bottle, empty glasses picked up from the table and a tin box containing dry fruits from the Mahajan house ' to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for testing, a source said.

These sealed samples, sent last evening to check for presence of more drugs or poison, had not been opened till late this evening because a police witness is required to be present at the time of opening.

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