Dismissing the writ petition filed by Rabia Khan seeking a fresh probe into the death of her daughter, actor Jiah Khan, the Bombay High Court has observed the CBI carried out “a totally impartial, fair and transparent” probe in the case, adding the mother was trying to procrastinate and delay the trial by insisting it was a homicide.
A division bench of Justice Ajey S Gadkari and Justice Milind N Jadhav also said it failed to understand how the court can go out of territorial jurisdiction to direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US to conduct a probe in the case, which was one of the reliefs sought by the petitioner. While the bench had dismissed the plea on September 12, the detailed judgment was made available on Tuesday.
The Bombay HC, on July 3, 2014, had transferred the investigation into the death of Jiah Khan to the CBI from Mumbai Police. Actor Sooraj Pancholi was booked for abetment to suicide following the death of Jiah Khan, 25, at her Juhu home on June 3, 2013. The trial in the case began in March 2019.
However, Rabia Khan claimed through advocates Shekhar Jagtap, Sairuchita Chowdhary and Rhea Francis that Jiah Khan was murdered. She sought direction to the CBI to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to further investigate the cause of death of her daughter. Rabia Khan approached the HC, challenging the September 16, 2021 order of the trial court that refused relief to her.
Referring to a supplementary chargesheet filed by the CBI on December 9, 2015, the division bench observed: “Prima facie, reading charge sheet, it is observed that a detailed investigation has indeed been carried out by CBI from all possible angles to comply with July 3, 2014 order passed by this Court.”
It added, “The entire approach of the Petitioner appears to procure an Order from this Court, without facing trial, that the death of the victim was homicidal and not suicidal. This kind of approach appears to circumvent the due process of law. That apart, once the trial has commenced, we do not understand as to how the Petitioner can maintain such objections, especially in the light of the orders passed by this Court and this Court (in 2017) having found that the investigation by CBI has been appropriate.”
The bench further noted the “repeated insistence of Petitioner to procure a finding from the Court that death of the victim, in this case, was homicidal and not suicidal is a clear indication of procrastinating the trial, especially when her substantive rights have not been foreclosed.”
The court perused the material on record and held: “Prima facie at least no fault can be found with the investigation carried out either by the Police or by the CBI.” The court stated that “merely because CBI has arrived at the same conclusion, that the death of victim being a case of suicide, it will not be proper to hold that CBI has not carried out further or proper investigation in the matter.”
Dismissing the plea, the bench said it “strongly deprecated the filing of proceedings by the petitioner for the same cause of action” and that it was initially inclined to award “exemplary costs” against her for filing the plea. The court also said the plea “is nothing but a replication of the earlier proceedings filed (repeatedly) by petitioner, despite the HC giving a decisive ruling on the same and the Supreme Court upholding the same.”
“The Orders passed by trial Court, High Court and the Supreme Court speak for themselves,” the bench said even as it, based on the pleading of Rabia Khan’s lawyer, refrained from imposing costs on her and dismissed the plea.