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A special court has acquitted the Bollywood actor who was arrested by the Mumbai Police and later granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013 in the Jiah Khan death case.
A Special Judge AS Sayyad of the Special CBI Court in Mumbai has acquitted Bollywood actor Sooraj Pancholi accused of abetting the suicide of Bollywood actress Jiah Khan. The judge while pronouncing the judgment said that Pancholi had been acquitted due to paucity of evidence.
The case dates back to June 3, 2013, when Jiah Khan, an American citizen, was found hanging from the ceiling by her mother, Rabia Khan.
After Jiah Khan was found dead under suspicious circumstances, a 6-page letter described her tumultuous relationship with actor Sooraj Pancholi. The Mumbai Police subsequently charged Sooraj Pancholi with abetment of suicide and arrested him. Pancholi was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on July 1, 2013
Seeking justice for her daughter, Rabia Khan moved the Bombay High Court to transfer the investigation to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the grounds that Jiah's death was not a suicide but a murder.
Consequently, in 2014, the High Court transferred the investigation to the CBI, which charged Pancholi with abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code in its chargesheet filed in December 2015.
The petition was filed by Rabia Khan, Jiah Khan's mother in the Bombay High Court after a British Solicitor Firm made a report of the lacunae and discrepancies in the investigation by the Police. After considering the report, the court noted that:
“We are aghast and shocked to read the said report and most importantly what is stated therein. In the first place, it is not understood whether the authors of the report understand the difference between investigation and trial. Prima facie it appears that the authors of the report are of the belief that the trial in the case has already been completed".
The high court further went on to note that the report had been submitted only after the investigation and the trial had already commenced. Further, the high court noted that the report attempted to deliver a verdict even before the completion of the trial.
The case then went to trial, which began in March 2019 and concluded on April 20, 2023, when the final arguments were heard by the Special CBI Judge, AS Sayyad.
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