Jiah case: Bombay High Court dismisses Jiah Khan’s mother, Rabia Khan’s plea against CBI charge sheet

By: | Published: February 9, 2017 8:26 PM

The Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Rabia Khan, mother of late Jiah Khan, challenging CBI's charge sheet terming the actress's death as suicide and not homicide, thus paving way for trial to commence against actor Sooraj Pancholi in the case

 

Jiah khan had committed suicide on June 3, 2013. Sooraj was arrested for abetting Jiah's suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the high court granted him bail. (Reuters)Jiah khan had committed suicide on June 3, 2013. Sooraj was arrested for abetting Jiah?s suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the high court granted him bail. (Reuters)

The Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Rabia Khan, mother of late Jiah Khan, challenging CBI’s charge sheet terming the actress’s death as suicide and not homicide, thus paving way for trial to commence against actor Sooraj Pancholi in the case. Sooraj is charged with abetment of Jiah’s suicide. A division bench of justices R V More and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi while dismissing Rabia’s petition observed that the CBI has investigated properly all aspects of the case and that there is no fresh material submitted by her to direct further probe in the case.

Sooraj had last year filed an intervening application seeking for stay on the trial to be vacated saying he has every right to face a “free, fair and expeditious trial”.

The court while dismissing Rabia’s petition today said, “The intervening application filed (by Sooraj) also stands dismissed as it is now infructuous.”

Rabia, in her petition, had sought formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and monitoring of the investigation by high court. According to Rabia, Jiah was murdered by her then boyfriend-actor Sooraj.

Rabia alleged that CBI has not probed the case properly and ignored several evidences and material that clearly suggest that Jiah was murdered.

The court, however, noted that the investigation appears to be complete from all aspects and that it does not find any deficiency in the investigation.

“Now after over three years of the incident, nothing fruitful will come out by directing further probe, and by constituting a Special Investigation Team. Not only the police but also the CBI has probed into the angle of homicidal death and on the basis of experts’ opinion, both the investigating agencies have arrived at the same conclusion that it is a case of suicide,” the high court said.

“Merely because CBI has arrived at the same conclusion as that of the police does not mean further probe needs to be directed. Needless to state that there would be no end to such exercise until the petitioner (Rabia) gets the result of her choice,” the judges observed.

The high court’s dismissal of Rabia’s petition paves way for trial to commence against Sooraj before a lower court.

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The high court had earlier stayed the trial pending hearing of Rabia’s petition.

Jiah had committed suicide on June 3, 2013. Sooraj was arrested for abetting Jiah’s suicide on June 10, 2013, but released on July 2 the same year after the high court granted him bail.

The high court noted that sufficient evidence is available for trial court to form its own opinion as to the cause of death.

“At this stage we only have to consider whether CBI has carried out the investigation properly. From the material submitted before us, it is revealed that the agency has definitely probed into the aspect of homicidal death,” the court said.

“In our opinion, nothing further needs to be probed or investigated into the matter for the purpose of collecting material or evidence on the medico-legal aspect to ascertain the cause of death,” it observed.

“Unable to accept the petitioner’s submission that CBI has not carried out further investigation properly in order to ascertain whether it is a case of suicide or homicide,” the court said.

Noting that it is high time the trial in the case commences, the bench said, “Speedy justice is constitutional right of both the accused and the victim.”

The court observed that there are statements of two doctors who have explained at length in their statements to CBI how the injuries and the ligature marks found on the body of the victim were in consonance with a case of suicide.

Rabia, in her petition, submitted the opinion of two other doctors who claimed that the ligature marks may be suggestive of homicidal death.

“Although there are two different sets of opinions, at this stage we do not intend to and cannot enter into the exercise of deciding as to which opinion is correct as it can be done only by the trial court,” the court said.

Sooraj, in his intervening application, had claimed that Rabia concealed vital information pertaining to Jiah’s disturbed childhood and also the fact that she (Jiah) had attempted to kill herself when she was young.

The claim that Jiah had committed suicide because she was depressed about her career not doing well cannot be accepted, Rabia’s lawyer had earlier argued.

Sooraj’s alibi that he was not present at Jiah’s residence at the time of the incident is fabricated, he further contended.

CBI counsel Anil Singh, however, had argued that the agency has CCTV footage of a hotel in Juhu where Sooraj was present on the day of the incident.

In her petition, Rabia had also claimed that the injuries on Jiah’s body clearly point out to physical abuse.

The high court, in its judgement passed today, however, said the injury marks on Jiah’s body have been explained by the doctors in their statements to CBI.

“According to the doctors, the injury on the victim’s lips may be because the petitioner (Rabia) tried to give Jiah mouth to mouth resuscitation after removing her hanging body from the ceiling fan,” the court noted.

“Similarly the antemortem injury found near the chin of the deceased may have been caused due to multiple knots in the dupatta that was found around the neck of the victim,” the court said.

The case was transferred to CBI by high court in July 2014 on Rabia’s petition that police was not probing it properly.

Rabia had sought SIT probe alleging that CBI, which is currently investigating the case, had concurred with the findings of Mumbai police that it was a case of suicide and not a homicide.

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