Jiah Khan case: HC grants interim stay on trial against Sooraj Pancholi

The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted an interim stay on trial against actor Sooraj Pancholi in the Jiah Khan suicide case, following a petition by the victim's mother Rabia against the CBI's charge sheet terming the death as suicide.

Sooraj Pancholi-Jiah KhanSooraj Pancholi-Jiah Khan

Rabia Khan petitioned the High Court against Central Bureau of Investigation's report categorising Jiah's death on June 3, 2013 as suicidal and not homicidal. Her lawyer Hiten Vinegaonkar submitted a report before a division bench of justices R V More and V L Achiliya pointing out several injuries on body of Jiah which neither CBI not the post mortem report had replied to.

He stated that if Jiah hanged herself, how can there be injuries on her body, lips and chin which the post mortem does not have any answer for. The handle of one drawer was broken and considering she had consumed alcohol in large quantities, it was practically impossible for her to commit suicide. He added that Dr Sharma of AIIMS hospital who had done a post mortem on Aarushi Talwar had specifically said that Jiah was killed but her murder was made to look like a suicide.

The bench on Thursday stayed trial in the case and directed the CBI to file its affidavit in reply to the petition, in two weeks. The petition seeks formation of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) and monitoring of the investigation by HC. It pointed out various anomalies in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in December last year.

The petition also seeks directions to enable the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist the SIT as Jiah was a US citizen, and seeks a probe "in the alleged role of erring police officers who have helped the accused by sabotaging the matter".

Sooraj Pancholi who was present in the court, looked visibly disturbed.

Jiah's boyfriend-actor Sooraj Pancholi was arrested for abetting her suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the HC granted him bail. The petition alleged that the CBI concluded in a haste that the case was that of suicide, it did not bother to
counter-question concerned people, and it did not bother getting important evidence on record.

"The CBI has not concluded the investigation in its real spirit and have closed the investigation without making any serious efforts to unearth the issues as are involved in the death of the deceased. In fact, they have been misleading both the petitioner and the US Consulate about the direction of the investigation," the petition alleged.

The case was transferred to CBI by HC in July 2014 on Rabia's petition.

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