Jiah Khan may have been murdered, says mother

It’s been four months since the death of actress Jiah Khan. While the rumours surrounding her suicide have finally begun to simmer down reports suggest that her mother has moved the High Court petitioning for a CBI probe into her daughter’s death.

In her petition, filed on Tuesday, Amin has made two key claims – she has cast aspersions on the police, for what she claims was a shoddy probe, and she has claimed that the police’s “lethargic and biased approach” was to “benefit the accused Sooraj Pancholi.”

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With the petition, Amin has attached several photographs taken right after Jiah’s death and an independent opinion of a forensic expert, which point towards a case of homicidal death rather than suicide. Mumbai Mirror has chosen not to publish the photos.

The petition, filed through Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, also questions the manner in which Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional commissioner, west region, declared that Jiah had killed herself just hours after she was found hanging in her Juhu house. The incident happened on June 3. The police arrested her boyfriend Sooraj on June 10 and was charged with abetment. He was released on bail on July 2 after the high court granted him bail.

“The petitioner has strong reasons to believe the entire probe has been hushed up at the behest of the police, who were pre-decided to carry out the probe in a manner that the truth does not come out,” said the petition. “The matter, which could have been investigated as a case of murder, has been converted into a case of suicide.”

It said the investigation was so shoddy that there is now hardly any possibility of getting the accused convicted. It accuses Sooraj’s father – actor Aditya Panscholi – of using his clout to influence the probe. The petition also raises the following questions to support the claim that Jiah may have been hanged after she was killed:

1. The petition says that a person who hangs herself will be found with her eyes and tongue popping out, while in Jiah’s case it was not so. It also says that in such cases brain or lung haemorrhage is observed, but even this was not the case with Jiah.

2. The petition says there are other injury marks on Jiah’s face and body apart from the usual ligature marks that happen in every case of death due to hanging. It points towards an injury on the right side of her lips and a mark on her left arm, “as if someone held her tightly.”

3. The petition says the ligature marks on her neck are not consistent with how it would be if a person hanged herself from a ceiling fan, thereby pointing at the possibility of strangulation. This contention has been backed by Dr RN Jerajani, an independent forensic expert.

4. Dr Jerajani’s report about the ligature marks says: “The marks on the right side of the neck are backwards and slightly downwards, while on the left side also they are slightly downwards. These imprints are not the usual marks that will be seen in cases of hanging and the possibility of strangulation is by deductive rule out.” (sic)

5. According to the police, Jiah allegedly hanged herself using a soft muslin dupatta. But Dr Jerajani says the depth of the ligature marks is difficult to achieve with soft material. The petition says a forensic expert from a government hospital has given a similar opinion but did not wish to be named.

6. Rabia Amin says in her petition that she has preserved a blood patch she had found in a room different from where her daughter’s body was found till now. She says that despite having pointed this out to the police repeatedly, they never bothered to collect it. A handle of one of the drawers in this room was also found in bent position.

7. The petition also points towards the difference in the height between the floor of the room and the ceiling fan, which is located right between two single beds. According to the petition, Jiah could not have hanged herself from a ceiling fan placed so high without the help of a stool, while their home does not have a single such object. It says when Jiah’s cousins failed when they tried to enact the suicide.

8. The petition says Amin informed Vishwas Nangre Patil and the investigating officer of the case about everything she found, but they paid no heed.

9. The petition adds that the bedroom window could have been used to gain entry into the first floor apartment, as the window is at a very low level and very close to the ledge above the building entrance. It says the fact that the window was found to be open despite the room’s air conditioner being on raises enough suspicion.

10. The petition says CCTV footage shows that when Jiah entered the flat a few minutes before she allegedly committed suicide, she was dressed in a track suit, whereas her body was found dressed in a night suit. Would a person about to commit suicide change clothes right before doing it, asks the petition.

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