The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed CBI to hand over the passport of actor Sooraj Pancholi, accused of abetting the suicide of his girlfriend actor Jiah Khan on the condition he will produce it as and when required by the trial court.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar allowed the petition filed by Pancholi seeking return of his passport seized by the investigating agency as per high court order of July 1, 2013 while granting him bail. Pancholi, in his petition, had said before travelling abroad that he would seek permission from the trial court.
"The court is allowing the petition. However, the accused applicant (Pancholi) will have to give an undertaking to the trial court that he will produce the original passport as and when required by the trial court. An undertaking shall also be given to the trial court that the accused applicant shall remain present during the trial. A photocopy of the passport shall be given to the CBI," Justice Bhatkar said.
The court while allowing the petition also held that charge sheet has been already filed in the case and the passport is not part of evidence in the case.
CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar opposed giving the passport permanently to the accused and said the agency will hand over it to the trial court and every time the accused wants to travel, he can take it from the trial court and return it. The court, however, refused to accept this condition.
Pancholis passport was seized by Mumbai Police after Bombay High Court orders in July 2013.
Presently the trial in the case has been stopped by the Bombay High court as Jiah's mother Rabia Khan had pointed anomalies in the CBI investigations.
Meanwhile CBI has opposed to the appointment of Dinesh Tiwari as the public prosecutor in the case as he was once the lawyer of Rabia.
- With inputs from agencies