The Bombay High Court Justice Mridula Bhatkar on Wednesday rejected an application filed by Rabia, mother of late actor and singer Jiah Khan, who made her debut in 2007 in Ram Gopal Verma's film "Nishabd".
The court considered the fact that as the issue in the matter was dealt by another bench of the High Court, rejected the plea and stated that, the request made by Rabia Khan was "not feasible under the law", however, at the same time Justice Bhatkar came down heavily on the probing agency and said,
"In today's time, technology and science has gone way ahead. Recently, with the help of data retrieved from a phone, I could hear the voice of the deceased in an open court, even months after she had died."
Her mother Rabia approached Court, seeking directions to the CBI for retrieval of chat messages on Blackberry messenger between Jiah and her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, who is also an actor.
The Blackberry smartphone used by accused Sooraj Pancholi was seized by the police, and Rabia sought permission to check the messages exchanged between them as well as the data stored in the phone.
Advocate Abad Ponda, representing Rabia, while referring the FSL, Gandhinagar report, included in the chargesheet urged the Court that the probing agency can not halt the probe for the reason that the accused is unwilling to share his password. The FSL report states that "attempts to retrieve the data failed as the password to the handset was not available".
During the course of proceedings, Advocate Hiten Venegavkar, appearing on behalf of the agency, opposed Rabia's plea and argued that the CBI has filed its chargesheet according to the proper investigation conducted by it and added, "The victim's family cannot keep raising new doubts of the probe every few months."
It is to be noted that Jiah's mother alleged that she was murdered by her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, after several inconsistencies and defensive marks found on her body. Pancholi has been charged with abetting Khan's suicide.
On June 3, 2013, Jiah was found hanging from a ceiling fan at the Sagar Sangeet building in Juhu, Mumbai, giving an impression that she has committed suicide.
But later on, her mother Rabia claimed that she was murdered by her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, son of Aditya Pancholi with whom she was allegedly in a live-in relationship.
On June 7, 2013, a six-page suicide note was found by her sister, though, it did not address anyone in particular, but upon reviewing the content of the letter it was allegedly found that it was regarding her boyfriend, Sooraj Pancholi.
On June 10, 2013, Sooraj was taken into police custody during the investigation of her suicide.
On July 2, 2013, the Bombay High Court granted him bail.
On July 3, 2014, following a petition seeking a transfer, filed by Rabia, the Bombay High Court ordered CBI probe into Jiah Khan suicide case and the prosecution in the case charged a case of sexual assault and murder on Sooraj Pancholi.
On August 1, 2016, the CBI ruled out the possibility of her murder in the case and concluded that the cause of Jiah's death was 'suicide by hanging.'
Nonetheless, Jiah's mother Rabia who was not satisfied with CBI's conclusion, hired a British forensics expert Jason Payne-James in her personal capacity.
On September 20, 2016, James concluded in a report that Jiah's hanging was staged and the marks on her face and neck indicated that it was not just a suicide.
On Jan 31, 2018, a Mumbai Court charged Sooraj Pancholi with abetting the suicide of Jiah Khan whereas, Rabia Khan was pressing for the charge of murder under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).