The Bombay high court has refused anticipatory bail to one of the accused, Naufil Ejaz Rohe, in the December 2021 fake Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raid case, which resulted in a Bhojpuri film actress dying by suicide. The actress had gone to an upmarket hotel in suburban Bombay with two of her friends for a party on December 20, 2021. At the time, a few people, claiming to be NCB officers, entered their room and threatened the actress and others with arrest for drug dealing.

The three became terrified and decided to bribe the men claiming to be NCB officers. The amount demanded by the fake officer was Rs. 30 lakh, but it was eventually reduced to Rs. 20 lakh. The actress paid Rs. 8 lakh but since she was unable to arrange the remaining Rs. 12 lakh, she took her life on December 23 last year.

The advocates for Rohe informed the court that the room had been booked in his name. He had gone to the room because he had been told, he would be acting as a pancha (witness). The advocates argued that since “he had not paid any money or promised to make the payment to the fake officer”, there could be no case under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code as there was a three-day gap between the incident and the suicide, and thus no connection. The court reviewed the investigation papers, recorded statements, and a few transcripts, which revealed that one of the late actress’ friends, Asir Kazi, knew that the raid was a hoax and claimed to have paid Rs. 8 lakh. Kazi was the one who put pressure on the late actress, claiming that the raid was carried out because of her, and thus she had to pay Rs. 12 lakh.

The government pleader argued that Kazi and Rohe were the masterminds behind the plan. Rohe had actively assisted Kazi in putting on a show of paying fake NCB officers. Rohe misled others by falsely claiming that a large sum had been transferred through hawala. “Thus, it is more than clear that it was a pre-planned conspiracy in which money was attempted to be extracted from the deceased and her friends by instilling fear in them,” Justice Sarang Kotwal noted.

While rejecting Rohe’s anticipatory bail application, Justice Kotwal said, “The offence is very serious. The plan that had been devised was serious. At this point, there is no sympathy for Rohe, and given the nature of the evidence against him, his detention is unavoidable. There is a direct link between the incident on December 20 and the deceased’s suicide on December 23.”