The Bombay High Court refused to extend the stay granted on trial against actor Sooraj Pancholi in the Jiah Khan suicide case.
The High Court had on February 25 stayed trial against Sooraj while hearing a petition filed by Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan challenging the investigating agency CBI’s charge sheet terming Jiah’s death as a suicide.
Rabia had petitioned the High Court against CBI categorising Jiah’s death on June 3, 2013 as suicidal and not homicidal. Rabia sought the High Court to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case afresh.
When the petition came up for hearing before a division bench of justices N H Patil and A M Badar, Rabia’s lawyer Subash Jha sought for the stay to be extended pending hearing of this petition.
The bench, however, refused to extend the stay on the trial and posted Rabia’s petition for hearing on June 7.
“You (Rabia) were not happy with the state police probe and approached the high court which directed CBI to probe the case. CBI has filed its chargesheet and has concurred with the findings of the police and charged the accused under section 306 (abetment). Now you (Rabia) want SIT probe. What if tomorrow your are not satisfied with the SIT also ? This has to end somewhere,” Justice Patil said.
The trial court is scheduled to frame charges against Sooraj Pancholi on May 5.
CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar today told HC that the agency was planning to file a petition challenging the government’s notification appointing a special public prosecutor in the case.
Rabia in her petition pointed out various anomalies in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in December last year and sought directions to enable the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist the SIT as Jiah was a US citizen.
Jiah’s boyfriend-actor Sooraj Pancholi was arrested for abetting her suicide on June 10, 2013 but released on July 2 after the HC granted him bail.
The petition alleged that the CBI concluded in haste that the case was that of suicide; that it did not bother to counter question concerned people and that it did not bother getting important evidence on record.
“The CBI has not concluded the investigation in its real spirit and have closed the investigation without making any serious efforts to unearth the issues as are involved in the death of the deceased. In fact, they have been misleading both the petitioner and the US Consulate about the direction of the investigation,” the petition alleges.