The Mumbai police’s Crime Branch on Monday received a letter from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding the willingness of the US government to assist the city police in its probe into the death of actress Jiah Khan.
The actress, a US citizen, was found to have hanged herself at her Juhu residence on June 3 last year.
The US government had written to the CBI last week, offering assistance in the probe. The letter was forwarded by the CBI to the Crime Branch.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Niket Kaushik confirmed the development. “The US government has only offered its assistance as a gesture of goodwill, which is a common practice. The Mumbai police will remain the primary investigating authority in the case. The US government will be notified if any assistance is required,” a city police officer said.
Meanwhile, the US government’s legal attache in its New Delhi Embassy and Rosemary Macray, chief of the American Citizen Services Unit in the Mumbai Consulate, on Monday forwarded a request to Maharashtra’s Home Department to allow FBI to provide technical and forensic assistance to the Mumbai police in the case.
Jiah’s mother Rabya Khan and her lawyer were called to the Consulate office at Bandra-Kurla Complex and were informed that an approval from Home Minister RR Patil had been sought.
The FBI’s offer comes following a letter from Rabya to US Ambassador Nancy J Powell last October, after the city police refused to entertain the possibility of foul play in Jiah’s death. She received a confirmation of her meeting at the Consulate on Thursday, four days after the Juhu police filed a chargesheet in the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Andheri. Jiah’s boyfriend actor Sooraj Pancholi has been charged with abetting her suicide. He was arrested and released on bail in July.
Rabya said she would also file a petition in the Bombay High Court in a week, saying the police had suppressed facts in its probe and filed a chargesheet claiming Jiah had committed suicide.
Rabya claimed blood samples of Jiah had been obtained from two rooms in the house. “If Jiah committed suicide, how was it that her blood was found also in the other room? The police have not explained anything about that in the chargesheet,” said Rabya’s lawyer Dinesh Tiwari. The forensic report confirmed that blood samples found in both rooms belong to Jiah.
“I want to find out whether Jiah was killed by someone and want the police to investigate this,” said Rabya.