Bollywood drug probe: Can somebody be implicated on foundation of WhatsApp chat for utilization of phrases like ‘maal’?

by Jeremy Spirogis

Can an individual be implicated on the idea of a WhatsApp chat?& 

Key Highlights

  • After Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), names of celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor have additionally popped up
  • Summons have been despatched to the celebrities on the idea of some WhatsApp chats that allegedly had Deepika asking for ‘maal’
  • A lawyer working towards earlier than the Delhi High Court explains what the regulation says in such a state of affairs and whether or not an individual may be implicated on the idea of WhatsApp chats

The movie business has been within the limelight for the previous few months, particularly after the unlucky demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The actor, 34, handed away on June 14. After his loss of life, the dialog on social media shifted to psychological well being and the existence of nepotism within the movie business. But issues took a distinct flip after his father KK Singh filed an official grievance in opposition to his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and 5 others, accusing them of abetting his son’s suicide. As the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe progressed, alleged angles of cash laundering and drug procurement and consumption got here beneath the highlight, and as a result, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) additionally joined the investigation. 

After in search of judicial custody of Rhea for suspecting her alleged position in medicine procurement and consumption in reference to the late actor’s loss of life, the NCB has additionally summoned 4 extra Bollywood actresses – Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor. It is to be famous that the NCB solely joined the probe after Rhea’s WhatsApp chats, popularly being known as the ‘drug chats’ within the media, have been accessed. The foundation of the summons to many others, together with Deepika and Shraddha, can also be these alleged WhatsApp chats. An important query that arises amid the NCB investigation is – Can an individual be implicated based mostly on a WhatsApp chat? 

Speaking about the identical, Udit Chauhan, an advocate working towards earlier than the Delhi High Court, defined that the regulation is well-settled on this regard. “The Indian Evidence Act clearly provides that any electronic data (which includes WhatsApp chats) can be used as evidence in the Court of Law, provided the electronic evidence or chats are accompanied along with requisite affidavits as required by the law under Section 65B of the Evidence Act,” he mentioned. 

If any such digital proof passes the muster of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, the courts should admit such proof, he added.

Bollywood drug probe

Another query that has been on the minds of many is whether or not the utilization of phrases like ‘maal’, as within the case of Deepika’s chats from October 2017, can be utilized by cops to ebook an individual. For this, Chauhan defined that the investigating companies will want greater than a WhatsApp chat to show anybody responsible in a drugs-related offense. 

The Delhi HC advocate additional added that so far as the utilization of phrases like ‘maal’ is worried, evidently the investigating companies have relied on one of many colloquial usages of the phrase, however the truth that the phrase is of a basic nature and that it may be used to convey a couple of factor. 

He said, “The alleged chats need to be perused with utmost diligence and caution to ensure that a proper nexus is established to convey that “maal” actually meant drugs,” including, “If the investigating agencies fail to clearly convey the meaning of the words by examining the chat in totality, the chances for proving any wrongdoings will be very bleak when the case comes up before a competent judicial forum.”

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The SIT recorded Rakul’s assertion on Thursday whereas Deepika, Shraddha, and Sara have been summoned today by the NCB.

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