Court asks CBI to probe Jiah Khan’s death

Mumbai :  Thirteen months after actress Jiah Khan was found dead in her Mumbai home, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the city police to hand the case over to the CBI.

A US citizen, Jiah, 25, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her Juhu residence on June 3, 2013, in a case of apparent suicide, and police later recovered a suicide note purportedly penned by her.

The police had subsequently arrested Jiah’s boyfriend, Sooraj Pancholi, son of actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, and charged him with allegedly abetting Jiah’s suicide.

The division bench has asked the CBI to take over the probe from a Special Investigation Team, on a plea filed by Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan last October seeking a probe by the central agency.

The case is handed over to the CBI for further investigation and to assess whether Jiah Khan committed suicide or was murdered, the division bench said, adding that they were not expressing any opinion on the merits of the probe done by the Mumbai police.

The court also directed the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police to provide all necessary support to the CBI in investigating the case.

The judges said that the forensic opinion obtained privately by the petitioner was at variance with that of the Mumbai police, suggesting there was a “lacuna” in the probe.

Moreover, the SIT, constituted following court directives, consisted of officers who were part of the earlier team which had probed the police case and reached the conclusion that Jiah’s death was a suicide.

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