The Bombay High Court today asked a lower court here not to proceed with the trial in the suicide case of actor Jiah Khan till it hears and decides a petition filed by the CBI challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to appoint a special public prosecutor in the case. “This is a matter that involves two agencies (the police and the CBI). There are larger issues involved. The high court will have to consider if the government can appoint a special prosecutor in a case where the prosecuting agency is the CBI,” Justice A K Menon. CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar told the court that the trial court was not even allowing the CBI prosecutor to argue or say something after the special prosecutor was appointed. “The special prosecutor appointed is the same lawyer who represented the victim’s mother, Rabia Khan, in her petition against the CBI probe in the case,” Venegaonkar said.
“This issue will require consideration… can the state government impose a special prosecutor on the CBI?” Justice Menon asked. “We request the advocate general to appear in the matter next week. Till the next date of hearing, the sessions court shall not proceed with the case before it,” he directed. Jiah had committed suicide on June 3, 2013. Her boyfriend, actor Sooraj, was arrested for abetting her suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the high court granted him bail. The case was transferred to the CBI by high court in July 2014 on Rabia’s petition that the police was not probing it properly.
However, when the CBI filed a charge sheet in the case and booked Sooraj on abetment charges, Rabia again petitioned the court seeking a special investigation team (SIT) to be set up to probe the case afresh. Rabia was against the CBI’s concurrence with the findings of Mumbai police that it was a case of suicide and not a homicide.