Bollywood actor Jiah Khan (26) was found dead in her Juhu apartment in Mumbai on June 3, 2013. After which, actor Mr Sooraj Pancholi, who was her boyfriend, was arrested and charged with abetment to suicide on the basis of a six-page letter purportedly written by the dead actor.

Sooraj Pancholi was facing the charge under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

jiah khan case verdict

And now nearly after a decade, a Special CBI Court in Mumbai acquitted her then-beau Sooraj Pancholi.

The verdict

A special CBI court on Friday cleared actor Sooraj Pancholi of the charge of abetting the suicide of actor Jiah Khan in 2013 due to "paucity of evidence". A single-judge bench of Jusge A S Sayyad pronounced the verdict.

Jiah Khan

"Due to paucity of evidence, this court can't hold you (Sooraj Pancholi) guilty, hence acquitted," Judge AS Sayyed of the special CBI court in Mumbai said.

"The charge of abetment to suicide has gone. But how did my child die? This is a case of murder...will approach the high court," said Rabia.

Section 306 of the IPC states, "If any person abets the commission of suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."

On the day of the verdict

Sooraj Pancholi's mother Zarina Wahab accompanied him as he reached court for the verdict in the Jiah Khan suicide case.

He was arrested on June 10, 2013. Currently, Sooraj is out on bail in the case.

Jiah Khan

The timeline of the case

In September 2012, Sooraj and Jiah supposedly began dating.

Rabia filed a petition with the Bombay High Court in October 2013 asking for a CBI investigation into the case and asserting that her daughter had been murdered. Rabia additionally alleged that her daughter Jiah was in an abusive relationship with Sooraj Pancholi.

High Court transferred the investigation to CBI in 2014. The agency filed a chargesheet in 2015 and booked Pancholi with abetment of suicide but ruled out murder. It is the prosecution's case that Jiah had left Pancholi's house on the morning of her alleged suicide on June 3, 2023.

A six-page letter allegedly written by Jiah, who was discovered hanging in her Juhu residence, served as the foundation for Sooraj Pancholi's criminal charges. According to the CBI, the note detailed her "intimate relationship, physical abuse, and mental and physical torture" that she reportedly endured at the hands of Sooraj and that ultimately drove her to commit suicide.

In his statement under Section 313 of the CrPC Pancholi answered 558 questions. Sooraj denied he was responsible for Jiah's death and instead claimed a false case was foisted on him at Rabia's behest.

The CBI claimed that Pancholi had aided Jiah in terminating her pregnancy six months before her demise.

But Sooraj contradicted the doctor's statement wherein he claimed that abortion was discussed in front of him and further denied helping Jiah pull out half of the foetus that was stuck inside her.

The actor further denied chatting with Jiah on the Blackberry phone or living in each other's homes. According to a witness statement in the CBI chargesheet, it was Aditya Pancholi who had asked Sooraj to delete all his chats with Jiah.

Regarding the incident, Pancholi said that later in the night when he heard about Jiah committing suicide, he was in shock and started crying.

The CBI claimed Pancholi had hidden facts and fabricated information during his questioning.

22 witnesses, including Jiah's mother, were cross-examined by the prosecution. Sooraj's attorney, Prashant Patil, argued that the prosecution had not established its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In his final statement filed before the court, Sooraj claimed the investigation and chargesheet were false, adding that the prosecution witnesses testified against him at the behest of complainant Rabia Khan, police and CBI.