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Actor Sooraj Pancholi Acquitted Of Abetment Charges In Jiah Khan Suicide Case

Actor Sooraj Pancholi, who was reportedly in a relationship with Jiah Khan, got accused of abetting her suicide, based on a six-page letter seized on June 10 from the late actress' residence.

New Delhi: A Special CBI court in Mumbai on Friday (April 28) acquitted actor Sooraj Pancholi from charges of abetting suicide of actor Jiah Khan. Jiah, who acted in several films, including 'Housefull', was found dead at her suburban home on June 3, 2013. Special CBI court judge AS Sayyad while pronouncing the verdict said due to lack of evidence, the court holds Pancholi not guilty. Sooraj, the son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, was present in the court with his mother at the time of the verdict. 

Sooraj (32), who was reportedly in a relationship with the actress, got accused of abetting the suicide of Jiah Khan based on a six-page letter seized on June 10, which was purportedly written by the 25-year-old, who was found hanging at her residence. As per the Central Bureau of Investigation, the letter, which was seized by Mumbai police that began its probe on June 10, 2013, was written by Jiah Khan. The Mumbai Police booked Sooraj under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) and arrested him in June 2013, and released him on bail in July 2013. 

The CBI claimed the note narrated her 'intimate relationship, physical abuse and mental and physical torture' allegedly at the hands of Pancholi, which led to her committing suicide. The case was reassigned to a special CBI court in 2021 after the sessions court said it did not have the jurisdiction over the case as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had probed it.

Jiah Khan's mother Rabia Khan, a key prosecution witness in the case, told the court she believed it was a case of murder and not suicide. She alleged that her daughter was murdered, and in October 2013, she moved to Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe in the case while alleging that her daughter had been murdered. During her deposition, Rabia Khan had told the CBI court Pancholi used to subject Jiah Khan to physical and verbal abuse. She also alleged the police and CBI had not collected legal evidence to prove her daughter had committed suicide.

On the order of the Bombay High Court, the CBI took over the probe from the Maharashtra Police in July 2014. 

Pancholi, in his 313-page statement filed before the court, had claimed the investigation and chargesheet were false, adding prosecution witnesses had testified against him on the behest of complainant Rabia Khan, police and CBI. In that statement, he said he had broken down when he heard about Jiah's death and said, "I had lost the most important person of my life and the woman whom I truly loved."

(With PTI Inputs)