MUMBAI: A sessions court on Tuesday framed charges against actor Sooraj Pancholi of abetting the suicide of his girlfriend actor Jiah Khan in 2013. Pancholi, who was present in the court, pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to begin on February 14.
The charge of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail. Pancholi’s lawyer Prashant Patil withdrew the discharge plea he had submitted earlier.
On June 3, 2013, Jiah was found hanging in the bedroom of her Juhu flat, following which Sooraj was arrested and charged with abetment. He was later released on bail.
In January 2014, the Mumbai police filed a 447-page chargesheet and alleged suicide. In July 2014, the Bombay HC transferred the probe to the CBI after Jiah’s mother Rabia alleged murder. But in December 2015, the CBI filed a chargesheet, ruling out murder.
The CBI probe said a note written by Jiah had established that “Sooraj ruined her life”. Referring to the couple’s relationship, the CBI pointed out that Jiah would clean Suraj’s flat, iron his clothes and keep them in the cupboard.
The CBI said just an hour before committing suicide, Jiah had a tiff with Sooraj. The chargesheet also described in detail the abortion procedure Jiah underwent when she was four weeks pregnant in January 2013. In his statement, the doctor who prescribed the pills to her said two days after consuming the pills, he received a call from Sooraj stating that “half of the stuff “(foetus) was still stuck inside Jiah. The doctor advised him to take her to a hospital. However, Sooraj called him again and said he had helped her pull out the “remaining stuff”. The CBI said Jiah had mentioned the abortion in her note, which read: “I was scared of getting pregnant but I gave you myself completely. The pain you have caused me every day has destroyed every bit of me. Destroyed my soul and I aborted our baby when it hurt me deeply.”
After the day’s proceedings, Rabia said: “At last today the court has gone ahead with framing of charges, at last the journey to reveal the truth has begun… I would have been happier if more serious charges had been framed after investigating the scientific evidence… for this purpose, I will go to the high court. I’m sure the truth will come out, that my daughter was murdered.”