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Rocky relationship, fading career drove Jiah Khan to suicide, say cops

Bollywood actor Nafisa Khan, known to the public as Jiah Khan from movies like Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Nishabd and Aamir Khan’s Ghajini, hanged herself at her residence at Sagar Sangeet building in Juhu late on Monday night.

Photos: Jiah Khan - Snapshots from the past

The 25-year-old took the drastic step between 10.52 pm and 11.22 pm, just after her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, son of actor Aditya Pancholi, sent her a bouquet of flowers following an argument between the two over the phone. The last call she received, around 10.45 pm, was from him.


Sooraj Pancholi was called by the Juhu police in relation to the death of Jiah Khan. The police had called him on the basis of phone calls and messages he sent to Jiah before her death

The Juhu police officers said they received a call from Jiah’s mother Rabiya after midnight, informing them that when she returned home at 11.22 pm after meeting a few friends who had come down from New York, her knocks on the door met with no response. Assuming that Jiah was not home, Rabiya opened the door with her spare key and found her hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom.


Actor Aditya Pancholi, father of Sooraj, was also called to the police station. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Senior Inspector Arun Bhagat from Juhu police station said, “Jiah Khan’s body was found by her mother Rabiya around 11.22 pm, after she returned from meeting her friends. At the time she committed suicide, no one was present in the house. On the basis of primary information, we have registered an accidental death report (ADR). We did not find any suicide note from the spot.” The police called Sooraj in for questioning. He landed at the Juhu police station along with his father Aditya and other family members, and left around 5.15 am.


Jiah Khan’s relatives at the post-mortem centre in JJ Hospital. Pic/Shadab Khan

Couple had misgivings
According to sources in the Juhu police, Jiah and Sooraj had been in a relationship for the past one year, but hit a rough patch some two months ago and argued frequently over petty matters. On the day of the incident, Sooraj had called her up many times and sent her several text messages. But when she refused to reply to any of them, he sent his housemaid to Jiah’s building with a bouquet. Jiah reportedly committed
suicide right after rejecting the bouquet.

Photos: Who was Jiah Khan

According to the police, the two had some misunderstandings between them due to another woman called Neelu. “The two had been exchanging phone calls and messages all day on Monday. Jiah had sent text messages to Sooraj saying, ‘Why are you getting so cold... Are you dating Neelu... We have misunderstandings between us... Are you meeting me?’” said a police officer from the Juhu police station. “Based on the phone calls and messages, we called Sooraj in for questioning,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil.

She was depressed
Jiah’s friends revealed to cops that she was suspicious that Sooraj was having a fling with other girls. She was under depression for the last few months and had been splurging on her lifestyle. Rabiya, in her statement to the police, said that the actress was depressed after having been rejected at an audition in Hyderabad recently. She hadn’t got any work in the film industry in the last two years. She was even thinking of pursuing interior designing, since her film career graph was taking a plunge. The Hyderabad fiasco was really hard on her.

When cops scrutinised the CCTV recordings of Jiah’s building, they saw Rabiya exiting the building at 8.30 pm. About half an hour later, they saw Sooraj’s domestic help with a bouquet at the building’s entrance, which she gave to the watchman. The watchman was seen coming back with the bouquet, which Jiah had apparently rebuffed. The police will now examine the footage again to find out whether Sooraj had visited her during the day. They will also question his domestic helps – the couple’s messengers, and their friend circle to establish the truth.

Jiah Khan
Short-lived fame

Born and raised in London, Jiah shifted to India to pursue a career in acting. She shot into the limelight in 2007 with her debut movie Nishabd in which she starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan. She was a nominee in the Best Debutant category in the Filmfare awards. She has also worked in Aamir Khan’s Ghajini and Akshay Kumar’s Housefull.

She died of asphyxiation: post-mortem report
Jiah Khan’s post-mortem conducted at the state-run JJ Hospital determined the cause of death as asphyxiation due to hanging, said Dr TP Lahane, dean of the hospital. The forensic team videotaped the entire procedure. The time of death was estimated to be between 10 pm and midnight on Monday. Khan was first rushed to Cooper Hospital from her Juhu residence where her body was stored in the mortuary. She was then shifted to JJ Hospital around 8 am where the post-mortem was videotaped to rule out any manipulation in the procedure, a practice followed while handling high-profile cases.

“There were no injuries on her body and foul play was completely ruled out as the ligature marks on her neck were caused by hanging,” said Dr Lahane. As a precaution, doctors have preserved the viscera for chemical analysis to rule out any possibility of poisoning and to conduct histopathology tests to discount any pre-existing ailment. After the post-mortem, Khan’s relatives and friends, including TV actor Pawan Shankar, took her body around 12.30 pm on Tuesday. They refused to speak to mediapersons present at the hospital. - Anuradha Varanasi

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