After SC, Bombay High Court too refuses to stay Jiah Khan trial

Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan had sought a stay on the grounds that the court was showing unnecessary haste in hearing the case; charges likely to be framed today

Two days after the Supreme Court refused to stay the trial court proceedings against Bollywood actor Sooraj Pancholi in the Jiah Khan death case, a Bombay High Court bench on Thursday said it, too, was in no mood to grant a stay.

Jiah Khan and Sooraj Pancholi
Jiah Khan and Sooraj Pancholi

It directed Rabia Khan, Jiah’s mother, to approach another bench with her plea for a stay and an SIT probe into the death.

Rabia Khan, through her lawyer, Subhash Jha, had sought a stay on the trial court’s proceedings from a bench comprising Justice Abhay Gadkari and Justice MS Karnik on the grounds that the trial court was showing “unnecessary haste” in hearing the case.

Jiah Khan’s mother, Rabia, wants the murder charge to be invoked against actor Sooraj Pancholi
Jiah Khan’s mother, Rabia, wants the murder charge to be invoked against actor Sooraj Pancholi

The trial court is expected to frame charges against Sooraj today.

‘Not inclined’
“You approach some other bench; we are not inclined to stay the matter. If the local court is going to frame charges on May 20, let them,” said Justice Gadkari.

Sooraj was booked by the CBI for abetment to suicide, but Rabia has asked that he be charged with the actress’ murder.

Jha had earlier argued in court that Sooraj had killed Jiah, and the abetment charge was incorrect. “The statements of all witnesses, which were earlier recorded by the police, were recorded again by the CBI. But they (CBI) are not looking at the case from the angle of murder,” he said.

Hiten Vinegaonkar, who appeared for the CBI, had earlier told the bench that the investigation agency wanted Dinesh Tiwari, special public prosecutor, to be removed from the case as he had been earlier approached by Rabia.

Probe demands
An HC bench comprising Justice Ranjit More and Justice VL Achaliya had on February 25 stayed the trial after Rabia pointed out discrepancies in the CBI investigation. But another bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice AM Badar lifted the stay on May 2.

Jiah was found dead at her Juhu apartment on June 3, 2013. Sooraj, her boyfriend, was arrested on the charge of abetting her suicide on June 10, and released on bail on July 2.

In October the same year, Rabia demanded that the case be transferred to the CBI. She later sought an SIT probe. She also wants the FBI to investigate the death on the grounds that Jiah was a US citizen. The CBI filed its chargesheet in the case in December 2014. On May 5, Rabia asked the trial court to frame charges against Sooraj for the actress’ murder and rape, and forced abortion.

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