In the chargesheet filed by the Juhu police, actor Sooraj Pancholi has been charged with abetting the suicide of actress girlfriend Jiah Khan based on an alleged physical confrontation between the two on the day before her death on June 3, 2013, a break-up bouquet that he sent her. The notes in which Jiah referred to her tumultuous relationship and frustration over her career, have been taken as her suicide note.
The 44-page chargesheet filed before a metropolitan magistrate’s court in Andheri on January 16 has statements of 36 witnesses, which include a fruit vendor and vada pav stall owner in Juhu, family friend Anju Mahendroo and a stylist known to Jiah.
Actor Salman Khan’s name also appears in the chargesheet. In her statement, Jiah’s mother Rabya Khan alleged that Sooraj’s father Aditya Pancholi had approached the actor to ‘counsel’ him. Aditya was allegedly not happy that his son was close to Jiah, who was elder to him.
Sooraj, in his statement, has hinted that Jiah was an attention seeker. He narrated an episode that occurred around 26 days before the suicide, when Jiah came to his residence visibly disturbed and told him that her mother Rabya had scolded her and hit her as she had missed a flight to Kolkata. According to Sooraj, Rabya told him that Jiah was just seeking attention.
The chargesheet also includes a statement of a Dr Rahul Dutta, who claims that Jiah had been seeking treatment for depression from him since 2008. He has stated that he administered hypnosis therapy to Jiah and that she had previously attempted suicide.
While dismissing Rabya’s claims that Jiah had been murdered, the chargesheet includes her supplementary statement, saying that Jiah was in a good mood on the day she died and there was no inclination of depression.
The police have also included a detailed summary of Rabya’s allegation. The actor’s mother has cited Jiah’s aversion to knots, and said that Jiah would have been able to tie a perfect knot with a muslin dupatta, with which she was found hanging. She has also questioned why a person attempting suicide would change into nightclothes, remove her makeup, close all the doors and windows of her room.
In a second panchnama conducted in her home in October 2013, the police found a bloodstain on the mattress on which Jiah rested her head and another one on the bedsheet. Rabya has said the bedsheet had been washed but the stain was still visible. Among injury marks on Jiah’s body that Rabya alleged the police took no congnizance of is a bruise of her left upper arm, as if someone had forcibly caught her. In her final observation, Rabya has noted that the ligature marks on Jiah’s neck are downward,‘which is in consonance with strangulation and not mere hanging by suicide,’ reads her statement.
The police have included the preliminary forensics probe and final postmortem report in the chargesheet, which terms the death unnatural due to “asphyxiation”.
Rabya’s lawyer Dinesh Tiwari said they will file a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of the probe to Special Investigation Team or CBI.