Sooraj gets bail as court observes Jiah was suicidal
The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to Sooraj Pancholi, accused of abetting the suicide of actor Jiah Khan who hanged herself last month.
The court noted that he could not be held ‘solely responsible’ for the suicide, and released him on a bail of Rs 50,000. Sooraj has to surrender his passport and report to Juhu police station every alternate day.
“He had not instigated nor aided her to commit suicide… No presumption can be drawn that the applicant is responsible,” Justice Sadhana Jadhav observed.
Sooraj pleaded for bail in the high court on June 26, four days after his bail application had been rejected by the sessions court.
Referring to the six-page letter given to the police by Jiah’s mother Rabia -- on the basis of which police had booked Sooraj -- the court noted that it was neither dated nor addressed to Sooraj in particular. “This script had never reached the applicant; the emotions reflected in the letter may never have reached him,” the court said, adding that the letter was more akin to a diary entry than a suicide note or love letter.
“It cannot be ignored that the deceased had suicidal tendencies and had attempted suicide in the past… the applicant had called a doctor and tried to treat her depression and the complainant [Rabia] was not even aware of this,” Justice Jadhav added. The court also said Sooraj had not forced Jiah to undergo medical termination of pregnancy, which “was an act of volition”.
“The deceased could have always walked out of the relationship. She could not overcome her sentiments and her love for the applicant, for which he cannot be held responsible. He was also pursuing his career in acting and admittedly could not devote sufficient time for the deceased. There were misunderstandings between the applicant and the deceased just before she committed suicide,” the order granting Sooraj bail stated.
The court also noted it was “clear that she was extremely possessive”, as she’d taken offence to Sooraj’s meetings with a female friend, until the friend clarified that there had been a misunderstanding.
Turning to the theory that a bouquet with a ‘Best of Luck’ message sent by Sooraj to Jiah’s home was proof of break-up, the court said, “The complainant misunderstood the bouquet as a breaking of the relationship.” Instead, it had been sent to wish her well for her auditions.
In the accidental death (AD) inquiry, it was revealed that Jiah was depressed because she’d been rejected during certain film auditions in Hyderabad. “It is pertinent to note that upon learning of the death of Jiah, the applicant and his parents had visited the house of the complainant... In the AD enquiry, there was no evidence to hold the applicant responsible for the death of Jiah,” Justice Jadhav noted. It was only after the discovery of the 6-page letter, touted as a ‘suicide note’, that Sooraj became involved.
Narco test for Sooraj?
On Monday evening, the Andheri Metropolitan Court heard arguments opposing the Juhu police’s application seeking the conduct of a narco analysis (lie detector) test on Sooraj Pancholi. Advocate Zameer Khan, appearing on Sooraj’s behalf, told the court that the person’s consent was required before such a test could be conducted. The court adjourned the matter for a day and will pronounce orders today.