The mystery seems to get intense as new developments concerning the unnatural death of actor-model Jiah Khan tumble to the fore. Last week saw the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) file a supplementary chargesheet, accusing Bollywood newcomer Sooraj Pancholi of abetment to suicide. The deceased’s family, however, harped on foul play and claimed that the Nishabd actress was a victim of homicide.
If Dr. R.K. Sharma, president of the Indian Association of Medico Legal Experts and former head of the department of forensic medicine and toxicology in AIIMS, Delhi, is to be believed, the homicide aspect cannot be ruled out. He was approached by the victim’s mother Rabiya Khan and has prepared his final report after studying photographs, documents and video of the post-mortem process. Based on Sharma’s findings that point to discrepancies in the autopsy done, the Bombay High Court transferred the case to the CBI.
It may be recalled that 25-year-old British-American actress Jiah Khan was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her Juhu Apartment on June 3, 2013. According to sources, the actress allegedly killed herself while her mother Rabiya and sister Kavita were not at home. The police recovered the body, which was then sent for autopsy to the JJ Hospital in Byculla. But Jiah’s death courted controversy after a six-page suicide note was found on June 7, 2013 by one of her two sisters. This note clearly indicated that the actress intentionally planned to kill herself.
People under the Scanner
As Mumbai Police launched a probe, it was found that the actress was in a tumultuous relationship with Sooraj Pancholi, the son of actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab. Of late, their relationship had gone bitter which might have led Jiah to end her life, said police. It was on June 10, 2013, that Sooraj – the late actor’s ‘boyfriend’ – was taken into custody. But Sooraj managed to get a bail on July 2, 2013, on grounds that the two were in a consensual relationship and the letter was being misused by Rabiya to frame him.
It was in October 2013 that Jiah’s mother moved court and filed a petition, seeking a CBI probe into her daughter’s “murder”. According to Rabiya, the Mumbai Police had simply ignored the forensic evidence and the premise that Jiah was murdered and it was not a case of suicide. In reaction, Aditya Pancholi filed a defamation suit wherein he claimed that Jiah’s mother had made personal attacks on the family in her tweets. This suit is still pending in the high court.
Focus shifts from suicide to homicide
It was in September 2015 that independent forensic expert Dr. R.K. Sharma told the CBI that Jiah Khan’s death could be a case of homicidal hanging and not suicide as was earlier stated by India’s leading forensic laboratories. Sharma stressed that post mortem had not been done properly and the injury to the deceased’s lips and left arm was not examined accurately. He added that such injuries could be a manifestation of a situation where the person was held very tightly.
This apart, the high alcohol concentration found in the deceased’s blood reports also point to homicidal hanging as one cannot hang oneself after consuming so much alcohol. It has been further alleged that the forensic teams destroyed the report on the DNA analysis of Jiah’s nail clippings.
As speculations continue over Jiah Khan’s mysterious death, we bring to you bits of information that you need to take note of:
- Not only Sooraj Pancholi, but even his father Aditya Pancholi was called for examination by the CBI on May 13, 2015.
- The criminal conspiracy angle was also probed by the CBI.
- Jiah’s mother Rabiya alleged time and again that the CBI falsely declared Jiah’s note as the suicide note. She told the media that the note was simply the one Jiah had written for Sooraj to read once she left for London.
- Jiah Khan was four weeks pregnant when her alleged boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi reportedly extricated the foetus and flushed it down the toilet.
- Sooraj Pancholi refused to undergo any scientific tests like brain mapping or polygraph.
- Jiah had attempted suicide earlier and Sooraj had reportedly handled her with utmost care then.
- Post the fingerprint test held on June 4, 2013, followed by the DNA test initiated on October 31, 2013, the Mumbai Police released a report saying no fingerprints have been found on the fan from which Jiah’s dead body was hanging.
- The report by Mumbai’s Kalina Forensic Laboratory indicated human flesh and blood under Jiah’s fingernails. Also, her body contained alcohol which meant someone might have hanged her when she was not quite in her senses.
- Sooraj Pancholi allegedly sent abusive messages to Jiah less than an hour before the promising actor hanged herself.
- A few days before her death, Jiah was found drunk (by Sooraj’s domestic help Deva) with pieces of glass in her hand, again, reflecting her intention to hurt herself.