Indian actor Sooraj Pancholi found not guilty in Jiah Khan suicide case

Indian actor Sooraj Pancholi found not guilty in Jiah Khan suicide case

The verdict in the case has been announced 10 years after the actor's death.
28 Apr, 2023

Indian actor Sooraj Pancholi has been acquitted by a special court due to the lack of evidence in the suicide case of fellow actor Jiah Khan.

Jiah, primarily known for her role in Aamir Khan’s movie Ghajni, and Nishabd opposite Amitabh Bachchan, was found hanging in her house in Mumbai on June 3, 2013. The local police had arrested Pancholi, the son of actor Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, on charges of abetment since they were dating.

He remained in custody for almost a month till the Bombay High Court granted him bail on July 3, 2013. Pancholi made his acting debut in Salman Khan’s production movie Hero two years after her death. He was constantly asked about the case during the promotions and also broke down during the trailer release. He was only part of two movies after that, none of which became a hit at the box office.

A six-page letter was also found, allegedly written by Jiah, saying that she had an “intimate relationship” with Pancholi, where she was “physically abused and mentally and physically tortured”, which led her to commit suicide. In the 10 years since her death, Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan also claimed that she was in an abusive relationship and Pancholi used to subject her to physical and verbal abuse.

Following his bail, Rabia moved the Bombay High Court and sought a transfer of the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The agency then filed a charge sheet in December 2015.

According to the CBI, Pancholi had “hidden facts and fabricated information” during questioning. He had allegedly also refused to undergo the polygraph or brain-mapping tests the agency wanted to conduct.

In 2018, Pancholi filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, seeking the dismissal of the charges against him in the suicide case. The trial began a year later in a Special CBI Court during which 22 witnesses were examined. The final decision was given in favour of Pancholi on April 28.

The Hero actor, in his final statement filed before the special CBI court, had claimed the investigation and chargesheet were false, adding that the prosecution witnesses testified against him at the behest Jiah’s mother Rabia, the police and CBI.

Wahab was in tears and told the Indian media that she thanked God for the verdict. Rabia told News 18, “I will not give up hope…I will keep fighting. I will approach the High Court, Supreme Court, whatever is required to get justice for my daughter.”