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Actor Sooraj Pancholi acquitted in Jia Khan suicide case

Jiah Khan was found dead at her home in 2013, following which her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi was charged with abetment to suicide.

Close to a decade after actor Jiah Khan’s death by suicide, her boyfriend and film actor Sooraj Pancholi was acquitted of abetment charges by a CBI court in Mumabi today.

“Due to paucity of evidence, this court can’t hold you (Sooraj Pancholi) guilty, hence acquitted,” pronounced special CBI court judge AS Sayyed.

Jiah, 25, who was best known for starring in ‘Nishabd’ opposite Amitabh Bachchan, was found dead at her home in Mumbai on June 3, 2013.

Based on a letter seized a week later, purportedly written by her, Mumbai Police had booked Sooraj Pancholi, the son of couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, for abetment to suicide.

Pacnholi was arrested in the case in June 2013 and released on bail in July 2013.

In the letter Jiah had allegedly spoken about her troubled relationship with Sooraj, and said she was physically and mentally abuse by him.

Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan had told the court that she believed it to be a case of murder and not suicide. The Bombay High Court last year dismissed her petition seeking a fresh investigation into the case.

Reacting to the verdict, she said that her daughter was murdered. “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,” she told news agency ANI, adding that the cause of Jiah’s death “has not yet been determined”.

The CBI had alleged that the letter seized by the Mumbai police, which probed the case initially, was written by Jiah Khan.

The note narrated Jiah Khan’s “intimate relationship, physical abuse, and mental and physical torture” allegedly at the hands of Sooraj Pancholi which led her to die by suicide, the central agency said.

In his final statement to the court on April 12, 2023, Sooraj Pancholi said that he had been booked in a false case. He said in Jiah’s death he had lost the most important person of his life and the woman whom he truly loved.