Nearly 10 years after actor-model and singer Jiah Khan was found hanging in a flat in Mumbai, a Special CBI Court in Mumbai on Friday acquitted Bollywood actor Sooraj Pancholi, who stood as an accused in the case involving abetment to suicide.
“Due to paucity of evidence, this court can't hold you (Sooraj Pancholi) guilty, hence acquitted,” said Additional Sessions Judge AS Sayyed, who presides over the Special CBI Court in Mumbai.
“The truth always wins…God is great,” the 32-year-old Sooraj Pancholi said on social media platform, offering his first reactions after acquittal.
Sooraj Pancholi, the son of actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, was present in the courtroom with his mother when the judge pronounced the acquittal order.
However, Jiah Khan’s mother Rabia Khan who had been pursuing the case, said she would be moving the Bombay High Court.
“The charge of abetment to suicide has been eradicated.… But how did my child die? This is a case of murder and I have maintained it since the beginning…I will approach the high court,” Rabia Khan said after the verdict as she came out of the City Civil & Sessions Court in Mumbai.
After the verdict, Aaditya Pancholi said: “(the acquittal) is a big relief to the family.”
A few days ago, in his concluding statement before the CBI court, Sooraj Pancholi had stated: “…I had lost the most important person of my life and the woman whom I truly loved.”
It may be mentioned, the suicide of Jiah Khan's narrated about her "intimate relationship, physical abuse, and mental and physical torture" allegedly at the hands of Sooraj Pancholi which led her to die by suicide.
After the incident, the Versova police station arrested Sooraj Pancholi, however, 22 days later, he was granted bail.
The case was later handed over to the CBI following repeated pleas by mother Rabia Khan.
Sooraj Pancholi was booked under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly abetting Jiah's suicide, a week after she ended her life.
The prosecution in the case had examined 22 witnesses including Jiah’s mother Rabia.
Advocate Prashant Patil appeared for Sooraj.
The detailed court order with reasoning is awaited.
Who is Sooraj Pancholi?
Sooraj Pancholi (32), the son of actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, has acted in films like Hawa Singh (2022), Time To Dance (2021), Satellite Shankar(2019), Hero (2014), Heer Ranjha (2011). In fact, then in his early twenties, his career had taken a major beating because of the case proceedings and repeated allegations. In fact, Hero was produced by Salman Khan, who launched Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty, the daughter of Sunil Shetty.
Who was Jiah Khan?
Jiah Khan (25) an American citizen, was found hanging at her flat in Sagar Sangeet Building in the posh Juhu area on June 3, 2013, around midnight. Jiah made her film debut at 19 in Ram Gopal Varma’s Nishabd starring Amitabh Bachchan in 2007 and went on to appear in a couple of more films Ghajini and Housefull, her only other films in her short career. Jiah was in a relationship with Sooraj, who was then trying to make a foothold in Bollywood.