The cruise ship sailed even after being ordered not to

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The Cordelia cruise ship sailed even after people were pulled over at the terminal and told not to embark on the trip, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) told a magistrate on Wednesday as it demanded the custody of four people he claimed to be the organizers of the event on the ship. Agency attorney Advait Sethna told the court contraband was found after the ship returned.

The four people presented in court – Sameer Sehgal, 30, Manav Singhal, 33, Bhaskar Arora, 26, and Gopal Anand, 35 – were charged with section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which concerns sanctions for the financing of illicit traffic and the accommodation of offenders. The BCN told the court that they provide refuge for those who engage in illegal activities and, therefore, the prosecution.

Prosecutor Sethna said as the investigation progresses, the mystery unfolds. “All of these people are an integral part of the organizing team for the cruise where the raid took place and the contraband was seized,” the agency’s dismissal report said. While Sehgal and Singhal are directors of Kin Plus Trading Pvt. Ltd, two others are associated with the company and played an active role in organizing the event, the court was told. The BCN said their custody was necessary to find out how those already arrested got on the ship and regarding the event that took place before and after boarding, which led to the drug seizure. In addition, he said he should confront them with those arrested and know the connection.

Appearing for the four defendants, lawyer Harsh Gangurde objected to the NCB’s plea for custody and alleged that the four had been illegally detained and had not been presented to court within 24 hours. “They were taken into custody on October 4 and presented as arrested only on October 5,” he told the court, claiming that this violated their constitutional rights to the right to life and personal liberty. The BCN claimed that there had been no illegal detention.

Dismissing the plea, Magistrate RM Nerlikar said in his order that the defense attorney’s claims are contrary to the arrest note which shows they were arrested on October 5. The court granted custody of the four defendants to the NCB until October 14, given the nature of the allegations and the need for an investigation to get to the root of the case.

Posted on: Wednesday October 06, 2021, 11:56 PM IST


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