NEARLY SIX years after the alleged suicide of model-actor Jiah Khan, the trial against her then boyfriend and actor Suraj Pancholi on charges of abetment of suicide began on Friday.
In the proceedings, which were conducted in-camera, the CBI prosecutor examined the first witness, a man who had participated in the recovery of the panchnama by the Juhu Police after Pancholi’s arrest in June 2013. The witness pertained to recovery of letters written by Jiah to Pancholi during their relationship, which were found at Pancholi’s home on June 10, 2013.
The prosecution claimed that the witness had accompanied policemen to Pancholi’s home where the letters were seized.
During cross-examination, defence advocate Prashant Patil claimed that the panchnama was not done in an “independent” manner said there were several “discrepancies”, such as the witness had not searched the policemen accompanying him, nor was he searched before the recovery was shown.
Khan was found hanging in her Juhu home by her mother Rabia on June 3, 2013. Pancholi, her then boyfriend, was arrested on June 10 that year and granted bail in July. Rabia had claimed before the court that her daughter’s death was not suicide, but murder. The CBI, however, which took over the probe from Juhu police, concluded that it was a case of suicide and said in its chargesheet that Pancholi should be tried for abetting the suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. Subsequently, the court framed the charge of abetment against Pancholi this year. The CBI is likely to examine 69 witnesses in the case.
On Friday, Pancholi through his lawyer submitted a plea to be given a schedule of witnesses so that he can prepare for cross-examination. He also sought permission to access Rabia’s Juhu residence.