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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sooraj Pancholi can’t be solely held responsible,says High Court

22-year-old gets bail in Jiah Khan suicide case

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 2, 2013 2:44:59 am

Twenty-one days after Sooraj Pancholi (22) was arrested for abetting the suicide of actor Jiah Khan,Bombay High Court Monday granted him bail. While ordering his release from prison,Justice Sadhana Jadhav observed that the undated letters by Jiah could not be termed suicide notes but extracts from her diary. “No doubt it is an unfortunate incident… She must have been impulsive. The applicant (Sooraj) cannot be solely held responsible for it,” the court said.

On June 3,25-year-old Jiah committed suicide at her Juhu residence. Four days later,Jiah’s sister Kavita found a six-page letter allegedly written by the actor,giving an account of her troubled relationship with Sooraj and an abortion that she underwent.

“Her mother (Rabiya) knew that she wrote poems,and wanted to read them out at a condolence meeting. While searching for the poems,Kavita found the letter,” said Rabiya’s lawyer.

Sooraj’s counsel Ashok Mundargi said his failed relationship was being exploited and there was no reason to keep him behind bars any longer.

The court said the letters were not addressed to anybody and may have been written when the relationship between Jiah and Sooraj was strained. “This script never reached the applicant but stayed in its original form in her (Jiah’s) house,” the court observed.

The court said Jiah and Sooraj,son of actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab,were in a consensual live-in relationship,which Rabiya had not objected to. “It cannot be said that the deceased had no option but to commit suicide,” it said,adding that Sooraj had no mens rea (motive) to instigate the suicide.

“It cannot be ignored that the deceased had suicidal tendencies. In an earlier attempt,the applicant had called a doctor and tried to get her out of depression,” the court said. Regarding her medical termination of pregnancy (MTP),the court said she had undergone the procedure of her volition.

The court said Rabiya had misconstrued Sooraj’s gesture of sending her a bouquet on June 3 as a sign of ending their relationship. As per the statements of Sooraj’s domestic help and the florist,the message on the card attached to the bouquet read ‘best of luck’. The court said he had sent Jiah flowers to wish her luck for audition.

The court noted that there was a misunderstanding between Jiah and Sooraj over a message sent to him by a female friend. “It is clear that she (Jiah) was extremely possessive about the applicant,” HC said.

Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde pointed out that Sooraj had tried to delete Jiah’s messages from his cell phone,which has been sent for forensic analysis. “It cannot be said that he had tried to destroy evidence as he would have done his best to destroy the letters,” the court said.

His parents wept with relief as the judge dictated her order. “I am happy that justice has been done,” said Pancholi.

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