Bollywood actress Jiah Khan had suicidal tendencies and she was in fact saved by her then boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi during one such attempt, a special court in Mumbai said in its order while acquitting Pancholi of all the charges against him for Khan’s death [CBI vs Sooraj Pancholi].
Special Judge AS Sayyad noted that Jiah was deeply in love with Sooraj but he wasn’t able to dedicate his time to her as he was focused on his acting career.
The judge said that the actress was a ‘victim of her own sentiments.’
“In the instant case it cannot be ignored that the deceased had suicidal tendency. She had on earlier occassion attempted suicide and that time accused had called for doctor. The accused had treated her and had tried to get her out of depression. At the relevant time the accused was pursuing his career in acting and could not devote sufficient time for the deceased. However on the earlier occassion, when she tried to commit suicide, the accused had saved her and helped her to come out of the depression,” the judge noted.
This fact, the judge, said was never told by the actress to her mother Rabia Khan and it was only Sooraj, who informed her about the same.
The Court further noted that there was no material on record to show that Sooraj met or even visited Jiah’s house on June 3, 2013, the day when she committed suicide.
“No doubt, it is an unfortunate incident that, a young girl has committed suicide, however, available evidence on record reflects that deceased was victim for her sentiments. She could not overcome the emotions. The deceased could have always walked out of the relationship. However, she could not overcome her sentiments and love for the accused for which the accused cannot be held responsible,” the judge opined.
Prosecution utterly failed to produce sufficient evidence
The court found little or rather no evidence on record to hold Sooraj guilty of the offence of abetting the suicide.
The prosecution utterly failed to produce sufficient material to show that there was an intent on his part to force her to commit suicide, the Court underscored.
“The prosecution has utterly failed to produce sufficient, cogent and dependable evidence on record to establish the said ingredients. The evidence on record against the accused, is vague, general and omnibus. From this evidence any specific overt act, or role cannot be attributed to the accused. There is absolutely no evidence on record to show the accused had acted in any manner which could reflect mens rea, that he wanted her to commit suicide,” the Court noted.
It further said that the prosecution further failed to prove that there was any action on Sooraj’s part, which compelled the deceased to commit suicide.
“Therefore in the absence of any mens rea instigation or aid, it cannot be said that the accused had driven her to commit suicide on that day. This court is therefore, of the considered opinion, the prosecution has miserably failed to establish the charge which alleged against the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” Judge Sayyad held.
Jiah was in depression
While Rabia claimed that her daughter was happy in her life and not in depression, the Court noted that the evidence of associate producer Anjali D Cunha was contrary.
“She has stated that the deceased had acted in films, such as in Ghajini and Housefull and Nishabd and has admitted that post the deceased joining Kwan Company, she never got big banner movies. Primarily, she was not happy with the roles, that were offered to her. She was struggling for a good position and was not happy about the situation of roles of her career,” the judge noted.
The judge further took into account the testimony of another witness, a doctor, who testified that he was treating her in 2008 and conducted seven sessions for stress management.
Rabia destroyed entire prosecution case
Rabia Khan, Mumbai sessions court
Rabia Khan, Mumbai sessions court
The Court also said Jiah’s mother Rabia destroyed the entire prosecution case by her own contradictory testimony.
The judge said that the four-day gap between the suicide and discovery of the suicide note, remained unexplained by the complainant.
“One interesting thing about said letter came on record that, according to the complainant the letters which were written in notebook of deceased, that notebook was of complainant. It has come in the evidence that when the letter was demanded by Juhu police, the complainant denied handing over the letter and instead the complainant published in the electronic media,” the Court noted.
The said delay creates doubt about the credibility of the version of the complainant. The unexplained delay is therefore fatal to the prosecution case and consequently, the case of the prosecution comes under shadow of doubt, the judge held.
The Court further observed that though the prosecution, after relying on evidence, maintained that the deceased committed suicide, Rabia claimed that her daughter was murdered.
“She was the main and crucial witness of the prosecution, based in her complaint, the law was set in motion. She openly shows distrust on the prosecution. When the case of prosecution was of suicide, she stated it was murder. However there is no charge of murder in this case. In fact she herself, denied the case of prosecution and disowned her earlier statement. Instead of said fact, the prosecution did not declare her a hostile witness. By giving such contradictory statements, she herself destroyed the prosecution case,” the Court said.
When even the expert witnesses gave their opinion on the cause of death, Rabia took exactly contrary view stating the doctors have given wrong opinion as suicide instead of murder. She even doubted the doctors who conducted post-mortem examination of the deceased, the Court noted.
“She raised doubt on everyone except herself. The 80 per cent evidence which is given by complainant is full of contradictions,” the judge underlined.
Jiah died due to hanging
Since inception of this case, the prosecution had maintained that Jiah had committed suicide and it was an unnatural death. However, Rabia disputed cause of death stating that it was a murder, the court noted.
The crucial aspect of suicide was, however, corroborated by evidence of the witness, who conducted post mortem examination of the deceased on June 4, 2013 along with expert team.
“In pathological status, the weight of the organ, will alter, they have not found any such alterations and it is not mentioned in the post mortem. In their examination, they have not found any finding suggestive of homicidal hanging. External examination, corresponding internal examination, and chemical analysis reports are suggestive of hanging of suicidal in nature. This evidence supported by medical evidence makes it clear that Jiah died due to hanging and not as stated by the complainant in her evidence,” the Court concluded.