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Actor Sooraj Pancholi acquitted in Jiah Khan suicide case

By LawStreet News Network      01 May, 2023 10:58 PM      0 Comments
Actor Sooraj Pancholi acquitted in Jiah Khan suicide case

A Special Court in Mumbai has on April 28 acquitted Bollywood actor, Sooraj Pancholi in a 2013 case related to suicide of actress Jiah Khan, saying the CBI had miserably failed to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.

Sooraj is the son of actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab.

Special CBI Judge A S Sayyad noted that the deceased had suicidal tendencies and she was in fact once saved by Sooraj and helped her come out of depression.

"No doubt, it is an unfortunate incident that, a young girl has committed suicide, however, available evidence on record reflects that deceased was victim for her sentiments. She could not overcome the emotions. The deceased could have always walked out of the relationship. She however, could not overcome her sentiments and love for the accused for which the accused cannot be held responsible," the judge said.

The court also said that there was no material on record to show that Sooraj met or even visited Jiah's house on June 3, 2013, the day when she committed suicide.  

It noted that Jiah was deeply in love with Sooraj but he wasn't able to dedicate his time to her as he was focused on his acting career.

With regard to Jiah's mother Rabia, a British national, who was the complainant, the court pointed out she gave contradictory statements and destroyed the entire prosecution case.

"The complainant raised doubt on everyone except herself," it said.

"It is seen that after long drawn and deep investigation, both the investigating officers concluded that it was suicide case. However, the complainant challenged the said investigation before the High Court by way of various writ petitions stating it was murder case. Though the complainant stating it is a murder case, but the available evidence on record does not reflect as what stated by the complainant. The 80% evidence which was given by the complainant, was found to be full-fledged with improvements and contradictions. The complainant herself by giving as such contradictory statements demolished the case of prosecution for which she is sole responsible," the judge wrote in 53-page judgement.

The court also pointed out it has come on record that soon after the death of Jiah, on June 23, 2013, Rabia done the engagement of another daughter at Mumbai.

"The conduct as such not looks like a normal person who in such grief situation also celebrate as such programme," the judge said.

On analysing the evidence and statements of witnesses, the court said, the actress was a victim of her own sentiments.

"The evidence against accused (Sooraj) was vague and general and no specific overt act or role can be attributed to him to reflect active abetment. The prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case that her then boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi had abetted her suicide," the court said.

"There is absolutely no evidence on record to show the accused had acted in any manner which could reflect mens rea, that he wanted her to commit suicide," the court said.

The judge also considered the testimony of another witness, a doctor, who testified that he treated the deceased in 2008 and conducted seven sessions for stress management. 

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