A Mumbai sessions court Tuesday framed charges against actor Fardeen Khan for attempting to buy cocaine in a 2001 case, dropping against him the graver charge of possessing over two grams of the drug that carried a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail.
The offence with which he has been charged now carries a maximum punishment of six months’ imprisonment and fine up to Rs.10,000 or both.
“Charges of attempting to buy cocaine have been framed against Fardeen,” the actor’s lawyer Ayaz Khan told IANS, adding that Special Judge Govind Sanap adjourned the hearing in the case till Nov 2.
“I have been charged only with attempting to buy cocaine. Charges pertaining to possession of cocaine have been dropped,” the actor told reporters outside the court.
“This is something we have been appealing to the court for the last 10 years. I am extremely happy about how things are going,” he added.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested Fardeen, 37, in Juhu in northwest Mumbai May 5, 2001 on charges of possessing cocaine.
Nasir Shaikh, who allegedly sold him the drug, and Tony Gomes, who allegedly supplied it to Shaikh, were also arrested.
Charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Fardeen claimed he had tried to buy only one gram of cocaine as against the NCB claim that nine grams of the drug were found on him and Shaikh.
Against the other two accused, the court framed charges under provisions punishable with imprisonment between one and 10 years and a fine that may extend up to Rs.1 lakh.
According to the NDPS Act, less than two grams is considered a small quantity. An accused can face up to six months in prison for possessing a small quantity of the drug.
Fardeen, the actor-son of the late Feroz Khan, took to acting in 1998 and has starred in over 20 films including “Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya” and “No Entry”.