THE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday opposed an application filed by actor Sooraj Pancholi, accused of abetting the suicide of actress Jiah Khan, to get back his passport as he wants to travel abroad. Pancholi also sought lifting of the restriction that he should seek the CBI’s permission to travel within India.
CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar strongly objected to the application on two grounds. First, he told the high court, Pancholi had not disclosed the places he was planning to visit, and second, a petition filed by the complainant was pending before a division bench of the High Court.
Dissatisfied with the C’I’s report of December 2015 that termed Ji’h’s death as suicide and not homicide, her mother Rabia had filed the petition last month, seeking investigation by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
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The petition also sought directions to enable the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist this SIT as Jiah was a US citizen, besides a probe into the role of erring police officers who “helped the accused sabotage the investigation”.
Venegaonkar asserted that Jiah was a foreign national, but Justice Mridula Bhatkar was not impressed. “Has it (incident) not happened on Indian soil? W’n’t IPC apply? If there is any direction passed by the division bench I will not pass any order,” said Justice Bhatkar.
The division bench, Justice Bhatkar was informed, had not passed any direction in relation to Pancholi’s travel restrictions. The CBI, however, insisted that they get at least a day’s time to file their response on paper.
The HC will hear the matter on Thursday.