28 April 2023 12:04 PM GMT
Sooraj Pancholi cannot be held responsible for Jiah Khan's inability to overcome her own sentiments, a Special CBI Court in Mumbai said today while acquitting the actor in an abetment of suicide case in connection with Khan's death."No doubt, it is an unfortunate incidence that young girl has committed suicide. The available evidence on record reflects that the deceased was a victim for...
Sooraj Pancholi cannot be held responsible for Jiah Khan's inability to overcome her own sentiments, a Special CBI Court in Mumbai said today while acquitting the actor in an abetment of suicide case in connection with Khan's death.
"No doubt, it is an unfortunate incidence that young girl has committed suicide. The available evidence on record reflects that the deceased was a victim for her sentiments. She could not overcome her emotions. She could have always walked out of the relationship. However, she could not overcome her sentiments and her love for the accused, for which the accused cannot be held responsible," Special Judge AS Sayyad observed.
The Judge added that Pancholi had earlier helped Jiah come out of depression but, he was pursuing his acting career at the time of the unfortunate incident and admittedly, could not have devoted sufficient time for her
The Special Court also blamed Rabia Khan, Jiah's mother, for demolishing the prosecution case by giving contradictory statements.
"The complainant has openly shown distrust in the prosecution. When the case of the prosecution was of suicide, the complainant stated it was of murder. However there is no charge or murder in this case. In fact, the complainant herself denied the prosecutions case and disowned her earlier statement. Inspite of the said fact, the prosecution requested to declare her hostile and continue the trial with such handicap evidence.
By giving such openly contradictory evidence, the complainant herself destroyed the case of the prosecution. When expert witnesses gave their opinion regarding cause of death of the deceased as suicidal, the complainant took exactly contradictory view stating that doctors have given a wrong opinion. The complaint raised doubts even on the doctor who conducted postmortem examination. The complainant raised doubts on everyone except herself...The evidence given by the complainant is found to be full fledged with improvements and constrictions," the order records.
The CBI Court also disbelieved a letter, allegedly written by Jiah reflecting her deteriorating relationship with Pancholi. Court said Rabia though claimed to be privy of the differences in their relationship, had never complained of the same to anyone before this.
Court noted that the alleged letter was "all of a sudden" found by Rabia, four days after Jiah's death, in her own notebook. Further, when the said letter was demanded for interrogation, Rabia denied to handover the same and instead, got it published in the media.
"The gap of 4 days in getting available the said letter remains unexplained satisfactorily by the complainant...The letter whichever be given to the investigating officer, according to the complainant was given after notarizing. In fact, the said letter was not found to be notarized as what was stated by the complainant. The circumstances as above creates serious suspicion regarding the actual author of the said letter," the Judge observed.
It also took an adverse view of 6 days delay in lodging of FIR by Rabia.
As per Rabia, Pancholi had sent a "breakup bouquet" to Jiah. However, court said the evidence is exactly contrary. "On the aforesaid points the evidence of the watchman nowhere suggested that the said bouquet was sent by the accused at any point of time. The evidence of this witness is totally silent on any specific name of person. Thus basing on such evidence it would be difficult to draw adverse inference against the accused that he gave the said break up bouquet to the deceased."
Special Court also noted that Rabia had tried to demonstrate that Jiah was a happy girl, doing well in her career, and could never commit suicide. However, Court said witness statements reflected otherwise.
"According to PW4 Anjali D'cunha, associate producer, the deceased has acted in films like Gajhani, Housefull and Nishabd. The said witness in her cross examination admitted that post the deceased joining Kwan Company, the deceased never got big banner movie. Primarily deceased was not happy with the roles that were offered to her. The deceased was struggling for a good position in the film industry. She was not happy about the situation of the roles of her career."
It also took note of evidence given by Rahul Datta who was apparently giving treatment to Jiah in 2008 for stress management. "In the instant case, it cannot be ignored that the deceased had suicidal tendencies. It has come on record that on an earlier occasion the deceased had attempted to commit suicide and at that time it was the accused who had called upon a doctor. The accused had treated the deceased and had tried to get her out of the said depression. Complainants evidence relfects that she was not even aware of such an incident till the accused disclosed it to her. Nothing to indicate that the complainant and her daughter had at any point of time questioned the accused and the said acts were out of her own volition and therefore it cannot be said that the accused had forced the deceased to undergo a medical termination of pregnancy or otherwise."
Special Judge went on to note that soon after Jiah's death, Rabia got her other daughter engaged at Mumbai. "The conduct as such above not looks like of a normal person who in such grief situation also celebrates such program."
The Judge concluded,
"If the entire evidence as above, produced by the prosecution is tested on the touchstone of the requirements laid down in the above cited rulings for establishing the offence under 306 of the IPC it will have to be held that the prosecution has utterly failed to produce sufficient, cogent and dependable evidence on record to establish the said ingredients. In the present case the evidence on record against the accused is vague, general and omnibus. From this evidence any specific overt act or role cannot be attributed to the accused. There is absolutely no evidence to show that on 3.6.2013 the accused had acted in any manner which could reflect mens rea that he wanted her to commit suicide. The prosecution further failed to prove that there was any action on the part of the accused which compels the deceased to commit suicide. Therefore in the absence of any mens rea, instigation or aid it cannot be said that the accused had driven her to commit suicide on that day."