"If we are guilty, Sooraj will be punished - and if we are not, then Sooraj will be set free."
Police have charged actor Sooraj Pancholi with abetting the suicide of his girlfriend actress Jiah Khan. He was formally charged in a Mumbai court on 30th January 2018.
The trial on the case will begin from 14th February. Sooraj had allegedly pleaded not guilty.
Under section 306 of IPC, for which this charge applies to, he could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.
On 3rd June 2013, 25-year-old Jiah, who featured in films Nishabd (2007) and Housefull (2010), was found dead in her bedroom. Her death came as an utter shock for the Hindi industry.
Soon after, Jiah’s mother Rabiya Khan, who lives in London, accused Sooraj Pancholi of murdering her daughter. The two had been in a relationship for nine months before she took her own life.
A lot of speculation has been made about a letter, left supposedly by Jiah. However, its authenticity of the same has not been proven in court yet.
Five years on since the horrific incident, Sooraj now faces charges for the case. Reports claim the actor is relieved with the charges, as his father Aditya said:
“We are very happy [the trial is beginning]. We have been waiting for this day for the past four-and-a-half years. Now the real trial begins, now we will fight the actual fight. If we are guilty, Sooraj will be punished – and if we are not, then Sooraj will be set free.”
The actor exclusively spoke to Bollywood Hungama, revealing what he went through over the years. He also explained what the case means to him, saying:
“Basically my case had started with 306 from the first day. The complainant side [Rabiya] kept delaying the process and it took five years for the court to finally come back to the same conclusion of 306.
“So what we started with, took five years to start again.”
In the last 5 years, Sooraj received various accusations including withholding information from the CBI. He also refused to undergo a polygraph test for the same. He added:
“Now, I can finally have my trial because the charge does not mean I am guilty of it. It means that now I can defend myself on that charge. Finally, I can fight my battle on [February] 14.”
Sooraj’s parents, popular actors Zarina Wahab and Aditya Pancholi have both stood by their son, strongly defending him. In the past, they claimed that Jiah was mentally unstable and had attempted to kill herself before too.
Jiah’s mother had even written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2017. She claimed CBI tampered with the forensic evidence and insisted her daughter was murdered.
After the court’s decision, Rabiya’s lawyer said the case will “give us a chance to present the opinions of independent experts who say there is enough evidence to show that it was a staged hanging and therefore is a case of homicide, not suicide”.
Back on 10th June 2013, police arrested Sooraj on suspicion of helping Jiah Khan to end her life. He spent 23 days in prison before officers charged and released him on bail. Sooraj was then absolved from any involvement from her death.
With this new formal charge, the actor looks ahead to the trial’s commencement.