Salil Chaturvedi, owner of Provogue lounge, received a major setback on Tuesday after the Bombay High Court quashed the sessions court's order separating his trial from other accused in the case.
If Chaturvedi would have been tried separately then he would be tried only for possession of 3 grams of cocaine. However, now since there would be one trial, he would be tried as a part of larger conspiracy in the case in which the total seizure of banned substance amounts to 867 grams.
|Total narcotics seized|
|*Salil Chaturvedi - 3 grams|
*Allwyn Sequeira - 3 grams (employee of Provogue)
*Saco - 10 grams on him and 730 grams from his residence (drug peddler)
*Abadulla Lukhanja alias David - 110 grams (drug peddler)
*Thomas alias Lambo - 11 grams (drug peddler)
Justice SC Dharmadhikari, while setting aside order of the lower court, asked the prosecution to try Chaturvedi along with eight other accused, including his two employees Vishal Maghnani and Allwyn Sequeira and three drug peddlers.
Public prosecutor Satish Borulkar argued that prima facie Chaturvedi was a part of the larger conspiracy and hence should be tried with other accused.
The sessions judge, on August 3, had allowed Chaturvedi's application for separation of chargesheet. According to Chaturvedi, nine different people were arrested on separate days with different quantity of narcotic substances. Hence the trial should be separated.
The Maharashtra government had challenged the order of the sessions court separating Chaturvedi's trial.
The prosecution had filed a common chargesheet earlier this year. According to the chargesheet, the police did not have documentary evidence supporting the charges levelled by them of abetment and conspiracy in smuggling of cocaine, against Chaturvedi. The only evidence, which the police had, was the seizure of 3 vials of cocaine from his house.
All nine accused were charged under sections of the NDPS act for possession of narcotic substance for personal consumption or for sale. They were also charged for conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.