India

Jiah Khan: Dead Bollywood star's boyfriend Suraj Pancholi bailed

  • 1 July 2013
  • From the section India
Jiah Khan
Jiah Khan made her Bollywood debut in 2007

Actor Suraj Pancholi, who was arrested after Bollywood actress Jiah Khan killed herself last month, has been freed on bail by the Mumbai high court.

The court said that Mr Pancholi could not be held solely responsible for the "impulsive" act by the actress.

Mr Pancholi, the son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, was Khan's boyfriend.

He was not with Khan at the time of her death, but police said they intended to charge him with abetting suicide.

Khan's mother found her body hanging at her home in Mumbai. A police post-mortem confirmed she took her own life.

Khan had left a six-page suicide note in which she accused an unnamed person of "ruining her life".

Mr Pancholi, 22, was arrested after the star's mother, Rabiya Khan, accused him of abusing her daughter.

Legal experts had questioned the police move saying strong evidence was needed to prosecute anyone for abetting suicide.

A 2010 Supreme Court ruling said that to convict a person for abetting suicide, it has to be proved that they instigated it or that "there was a clear intention to commit the offence".

'Unfortunate incident'

On Monday, the high court freed Mr Pancholi, but ordered him not to leave the country and report to police every other day.

"No doubt that it was an unfortunate incident that a young girl has committed suicide. She [Jiah Khan] must have been impulsive and he [Suraj Pancholi] cannot be held solely responsible for it," the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Justice Sadhna Jadhav as saying on Monday.

The court said that Khan's letter could not be taken as a suicide note as it was not addressed to anyone and was not dated.

Moreover, Mr Pancholi "never nurtured an intent or motive to push the girl to commit suicide", the judge said.

"She [Khan] was in the relationship on her own volition. It all depends on the psyche of the person. It cannot be ignored that Jiah [Khan] had suicidal tendencies. Earlier also she had attempted suicide and it was the applicant [Mr Pancholi] who took care of her," Justice Jadhav said.

Born Nafisa Khan in New York, the actress grew up in London before moving to Mumbai for a career in Bollywood.

Jiah Khan, who was 25, made her Bollywood debut in 2007 with Amitabh Bachchan in Nishabd.

She also acted with Aamir Khan in the psychological thriller, Ghajini.

Her last film was the 2010 comedy Housefull, in which she played a supporting role.

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