The verdict on the high-profile suicide case of Bollywood actor Jiah Khan is liked to be pronounced by a special CBI court in Mumbai on Friday (April 28).
It was nearly a decade back when the 25-year-old upcoming actor Jiah Khan, who was seen in movies like ‘Ghajini’ and Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Nishabd’, was found dead by hanging in her suburban Juhu home on June 3, 2013.
Actor Suraj Pancholi, son of actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, who she was allegedly dating, is accused of abetting the suicide of Khan. And, he was charged on the basis of a six-page letter purportedly written by Khan. After Jiah’s death, her mother accused Sooraj and his family of ‘mistreating’ Jiah and he was booked for abetment of suicide. Sooraj was even arrested but was later released on bail.
After Sooraj’s bail, Jiah’s mother moved the Bombay High Court and sought a transfer of the probe to the CBI. The CBI then filed a chargesheet in December 2015 in which they charged Pancholi with abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
Special CBI Judge AS Sayyad, after hearing the final arguments of both the sides on April 20, last week reserved his judgement in the case for April 28.
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As per the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the letter, which was seized by Mumbai police that began its probe on June 10, 2013, was written by Jiah Khan.
The CBI claimed the note narrated her “intimate relationship, physical abuse and mental and physical torture” allegedly at the hands of Pancholi, which led to her committing suicide.
The case was reassigned to a special CBI court in 2021 after the sessions court said it did not have the jurisdiction over the case as the CBI had probed it.
Jiah Khan’s mother Rabia Khan, a key prosecution witness in the case, told the court she believed it was a case of murder and not suicide. The Bombay High Court last year dismissed her petition seeking a fresh probe into the case.
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During her deposition, Rabia Khan had told the CBI court Pancholi used to subject Jiah Khan to physical and verbal abuse. She also alleged the police and CBI had not collected legal evidence to prove her daughter had committed suicide.
Pancholi, in his 313-page statement filed before the court, had claimed the investigation and chargesheet were false, adding prosecution witnesses had testified against him on the behest of the complainant Rabia Khan, police and CBI.
According to family and friends Pancholi has already suffered the past ten years and is just waiting for a closure to the case. The family is anxious but also positive about the verdict.
(With input from agencies)