Mumbai: Bollywood actor Fardeen Khan on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempting to buy cocaine in a 10-year-old case in which a special court framed charges against him and two others.
The special NDPS court framed charges against Khan, son of yesteryear actor-film maker Feroz Khan, under section 21 (A) of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act, which carries a maximum punishment of 6 months and fine upto Rs 10,000 or both.
Against the other two accused - Nasir Karim Sheikh and Tony Hector Gomes - the court framed charges under section 21 (B) of NDPS act, punishable with imprisonment betweeen one year and 10 years and a fine that may extend up to Rs one lakh.
The "Dulha Mil Gaya" and "Jai Veeru" actor was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from Juhu area of the city in May, 2001 for illegal possession of cocaine.
Alleged drug peddlers Shaikh and Gomes were also arrested with him.
While Khan claimed he had attempted to buy only one gm of cocaine from Shaikh, the NCB alleged that nine gm of banned substance was found on Khan and Shaikh.
According to the NDPS Act, less than two gm is considered a small quantity.
A visibly relieved actor later told reporters that he was happy with the court framing charges for a lesser offence. "It is something we have been appealing in the court for the last 10 years. The court has framed charges for attempting to buy 1 gm (of cocaine). I am happy," he said.