Seven years on, Jiah Khan’s suicide case hasn’t moved much

The death and the probe in Jiah's case assume some significance after the alleged suicide and subsequent developments in the Sushant Singh Rajput case

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Sunday, August 16, 2020, 07:37 AM IST
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Mumbai: It has been over seven years to the alleged suicide of actress Jiah Khan, which has been probed by two independent agencies - the Mumbai Police and CBI - but the case files are eating dust as there seems to be no sight of the onset of the trial.

The prime accused in the case, Sooraj Pancholi, still awaits the trial to commence in the case. He was the live-in partner of Jiah and has been booked for abetting her suicide and sexual assault.

The trial court had in January 2018, i.e. after five years of Jiah's death, framed charges against Pancholi but till date has only managed to examine one single prosecution witness.

Notably, the CBI, which is the prosecuting agency in the case, had handed over a list of 69 witnesses to be examined to prove the guilt of Pancholi.

"The pace is too slow. We have been demanding for an expeditious trial but the prosecution, as well as the complainant Rabia Khan (Jiah's mother), have been delaying the proceedings," claimed Pancholi's counsel Prashant Patil.

"From January 2018, only one witness has been examined. I wonder when would the rest of the prosecution witnesses be examined by the court," Patil said, adding, "As of now, the hearings are disrupted due to the pandemic."

Notably, the death and the probe in Jiah's case assume some significance after the alleged suicide and subsequent developments in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

Just like Sushant, Jiah too committed suicide and her death was reported as an "accidental" one by the Mumbai Police, the way the former's death was labelled. However, after a few days of probe, Jiah's mother had flagged a note, which she claimed to be a suicide note, she found in her daughter's room.

However, such a note isn't found in Sushant's case yet. But just like Jiah's family even Sushant's kins have been demanding a probe by the CBI claiming that their son was harassed by his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty.

But in Jiah's case, the CBI probe concluded with the findings of that of the Mumbai Police. Both the city police and the central agency concluded her death to be a suicide and booked Pancholi for abetting it.

As far as Sushant's case is concerned, the lines of probe by both the CBI and the local police have been on different tangents, with the former claiming it to be an abetting to suicide case and the latter registering only an accidental death report.

Speaking on such parallel probes, Patil said, "In our case, initially the local police launched their probe. They said it was a suicide case and booked my client. But her mother Rabia wasn't satisfied by the investigations and sought a CBI probe, which again came up with similar findings. The Mumbai Police is one of the finest agencies and so is the CBI."

"I think, it isn't the agency but the evidence that holds the ground. But since there are demands for a CBI probe, I think the central agency must be allowed to investigate the SSR case under the monitoring of the Supreme Court," Patil added.

Notably, Sooraj had recently lodged a complaint with the Mumbai Police after he was allegedly dragged in the SSR suicide case. "My client is in favour of a CBI probe in Sushant's case," the counsel added.

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