From FBI assistance to a controversy over a lawyer’s appointment, the Jiah Khan case witnessed some unusual turns over the course of almost ten years.
A Mumbai court on Friday acquitted actor Sooraj Pancholi of abetting the suicide of his former girlfriend and actor Jiah Khan, lending quietus to a case that assumed different dimensions over the course of nearly a decade.
The case took some unusual turns along the way, from the involvement of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to the lawyer who represented Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan being appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.
Here’s a look at how these events unfolded in the legal arena.
On June 3, 2013, a 25-year-old Jiah, who had worked in the Indian film industry alongside some of the biggest names in Bollywood, was found dead at her house.
After the police were alerted, an accidental death report was filed at Juhu Police Station and preliminary findings suggested suicide to be the cause of her death.
Her mother Rabia found a letter purportedly written by Jiah, describing her tumultuous relationship with Pancholi.
Subsequently, Pancholi was arrested on charges of abetment to suicide. He was later granted bail by the Bombay High Court.
Rabia was adamant that her daughter didn’t die by suicide. Convinced that her daughter was murdered, she moved the Bombay High Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe. In 2014, the High Court transferred the investigation to the CBI.
When the FBI offered assistance
While the legal developments progressed, atypical events outside the court began to take shape. Jiah was an American citizen and her mother was keen on getting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on board to probe the case.
Unhappy with the way the local police had investigated Jiah’s death, Rabia approached United States authorities. She wrote to then US Ambassador Nancy J Powell and received a communication on the FBI’s willingness to offer technical and forensic assistance to the investigating agency in its probe.
Even as Rabia moved the Bombay High Court with a plea seeking the FBI’s inputs in 2021, the same would be rejected in September 2022. The Court said that the petition was filed to “procrastinate the trial” in the case.
Defamation enters the fray
The case even saw a ₹100 crore defamation suit filed by Sooraj’s parents – actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab – against Rabia for her allegedly derogatory comments against them on social media in July 2014.
A few days later, during the hearing before the Bombay High Court, Rabia said she would not pass any defamatory statements against the Pancholis.
However, in 2016, the Pancholis again moved court, this time with a contempt plea against Rabia for allegedly continuing to make defamatory statements against them.
Source : https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/twists-and-turns-of-the-jiah-khan-death-case-a-timeline