Cordelia Cruise Drugs Case: Bombay HC Grants Bail to Alleged Drug Peddler


The Bombay High Court has granted bail to an alleged drug peddler in the 2021 Cordelia cruise drugs seizure case of Mumbai, observing uncertainty in the seizure of the contraband, which prima facie may lead to his acquittal.

Justice N J Jamadar granted bail to Abdul Kadar Shaikh, a senior corporate executive who has been in jail for over two years, on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh, acknowledging his prolonged incarceration and right to a speedy trial.

In the high-profile case, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was also arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and later granted bail by the HC, though he was ultimately not named as an accused.


The allegation against Shaikh was that he had supplied drugs to some of the co-accused in the case. The NCB asserted it had seized contraband from Shaikh at the time of his arrest.

The Court, in its order, remarked that prima facie there was a discrepancy in the description of the contraband allegedly seized from Shaikh and the sample collected therefrom, compared to the sample received for analysis by the CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory). Justice Jamadar stated, “As the identity of the sample is in the corridor of uncertainty, and the complicity of the applicant is primarily based on the seizure of the contraband from the applicant, a prima facie case to hold that eventually the applicant may not be found guilty of the offences can be said to have been made out.”

The court also acknowledged that the trial in the case would not conclude swiftly and Shaikh has been incarcerated for over two years. “A long period of incarceration without a realistic prospect of expeditious conclusion of the trial renders the detention of the accused as an undertrial prisoner foul of the right to speedy trial; a facet of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the judge noted.

NDPS Court

Shaikh had approached the High Court after his bail plea was rejected by a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court in November 2023.

Shaikh, aged 30, who worked as a senior executive with a logistics firm, was arrested from a bus stop opposite a mall in suburban Juhu on October 3, 2021, a day after the NCB raided the Goa-bound cruise ship, Cordelia, off the coast of Mumbai on suspicion of drugs onboard. He allegedly possessed 2.5 grams ecstasy pills and 54.3 grams mephedrone (MD), according to the NCB.

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