Almost a decade after the tragic death of Bollywood actor Jiah Khan, her boyfriend and fellow actor Sooraj Pancholi may finally receive a judgment on April 28 in the case of her suicide. The special CBI court in Mumbai has been hearing the case, in which Pancholi has been charged with abetment to suicide, and has reserved its judgment after hearing final arguments from both sides.
Jiah Khan, an American citizen, was found dead at her Juhu home on June 3, 2013. Pancholi was later arrested and charged with abetment to suicide on the basis of a six-page letter, purportedly written by the actor, which detailed her alleged physical and mental abuse at the hands of Pancholi.
The case was reassigned to a special CBI court in 2021 after the sessions court ruled that it did not have the jurisdiction over the case as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had probed it. Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan, who has been a key prosecution witness in the case, has maintained that she believes it to be a case of murder rather than suicide, and had petitioned for a fresh investigation into the case last year, which was dismissed by the Bombay High Court.
During her deposition, Rabia had alleged that Pancholi had subjected Jiah to physical and verbal abuse, and that neither the police nor the CBI had collected any “legal evidence” to prove that her daughter had committed suicide. Pancholi’s legal team, however, argued that the case did not fall under the category of abetment to suicide, citing landmark judgments from the Supreme Court and high court.
The judgment in the case, which has been closely followed by the media and Bollywood fans alike, is expected to bring closure to a tragic chapter in the industry’s history.