Actor Sooraj Pancholi, who was charged under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly abetting the suicide of actor Jiah Khan in 2013, was acquitted by a special CBI court on Friday due to “paucity of evidence”. Khan had died by suicide at her Juhu home on June 3, 2013.
“Due to paucity of evidence, this court can’t hold you (Sooraj Pancholi) guilty, hence acquitted,”
Judge AS Sayyed of the special CBI court in Mumbai said.
The court delayed the order for approximately two hours soon after the hearing started because Jiah’s mother, Rabia Khan, requested to submit written arguments.
“The charge of abetment to suicide has gone. But how did my child die? This is a case of murder…will approach the high court,”
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the prosecuting agency, examined 22 witnesses in the case, including Jiah Khan’s mother Rabia and her sisters, after the trial began in 2019. Rabia filed several pleas in various courts, including the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, seeking to charge Sooraj Pancholi with murder, as she claimed that Khan had not committed suicide.
Despite Rabia Khan’s repeated pleas for murder charges against Sooraj Pancholi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found no proof of murder and maintained that Jiah Khan died by suicide. During the trial, Pancholi’s lawyer argued that the CBI failed to prove his client’s intention to abet suicide, and that no witness had testified that Pancholi instigated Khan to take her own life.
The CBI contended that Khan died by suicide after Pancholi broke up with her and sent her a bouquet indicating the end of their relationship. Pancholi did not present any defense witnesses, and earlier this month, he answered 558 questions in court under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
He maintained that he was falsely implicated by Rabia Khan and that Khan’s sister had given a false statement about him abusing her during their relationship.
When asked about her sister’s statement that Khan and he had a good relationship in the beginning, Pancholi said,
“My relationship with Nafisa (Khan’s real name) was good throughout”. When asked about the claim by Rabia that it is not a suicide case but that of murder, Pancholi responded stating, “I am not responsible for Nafisa’s death.”