Recently, on 28-4-2023, the Special Court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) acquitted Bollywood actor Sooraj Pancholi in Jiah Khan suicide case due to vague evidence. Since the matter involved death of a Bollywood actor (Jiah Khan) and the prime accused was also a Bollywood actor (Sooraj Pancholi, son of Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab), news and social media was flooded with stories of Pancholi's acquittal.
However, some stories are doing the rounds conveying that the letters alleging torture by Sooraj Pancholi against Jiah Khan were ‘written by Jiah's mother as per CBI Court'.
An Instagram post says that “The Special CBI Court Trial proved that so-called ‘Suicide Letter' was written by Jiah's mother and not Jiah”
The question thereby arises that Did CBI court actually observed that the said letters were written by Jiah Khan's mother? Did the CBI Court find Jiah Khan's mother guilty of fabricating false evidence?
The only source of information which can bring clarity on all such doubts is the judgment delivered by the CBI Court in CBI v. Sooraj Aditya Pancholi, 2023 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Bom) 5.
The CBI Court in the instant judgment did indicate suspicion on the genuineness of the letters allegedly written by Jiah Khan. The Court said that “The letters which were allegedly written by the deceased are doubtful as those were not found at the initial investigation on the very date of the alleged incident. The recovery regarding the said letters is doubtful. There is a serious doubt regarding the authorship of the said letters.”
The Court had noted the fact that the said letters were found by the complainant, Jiah Khan's mother on 7-6-2013, 4 days after her death, which remained unexplained by Jiah Khan's mother. Although, the Court did interestingly point out the matter of record as stated by Jiah Khan's mother that the alleged letters were written in notebook owned by her mother.
The Court had also pointed out the chaos created by Jiah Khan's mother by stating in her evidence that the letter sent for examination contained her handwriting.
The Court also highlighted Jiah Khan's mother's denial to produce the said letters during interrogation and making them public through electronic media, allegedly given only after notarizing to the investigating officer, which was in fact not found to be notarized. The Court expressed that “The circumstances as above creates serious suspicions regarding the actual author of the said letter.”
It can be seen that it was nowhere said or conveyed by the CBI Court that the letters were proved to be written by Jiah Khan's mother. Had that been the case, there is a special provision under Section 192 of Penal Code, 1860 which punishes the said act, which reads as:
“Fabricating false evidence.—Whoever causes any circumstance to exist or makes any false entry in any book or record, [or electronic record] or makes any document [or electronic record] containing a false statement, intending that such circumstance, false entry or false statement may appear in evidence in a judicial proceeding, or in a proceeding taken by law before a public servant as such, or before an arbitrator, and that such circumstance, false entry or false statement, so appearing in evidence, may cause any person who in such proceeding is to form an opinion upon the evidence, to entertain an erroneous opinion touching any point material to the result of such proceeding, is said “to fabricate false evidence”.”
Hence, facts checked, and the news or social media copies conveying that the CBI Court said that the letters were written by Jiah Khan's mother have no mention in the Jiah Khan verdict delivered on 28-4-2023 while acquitting Sooraj Pancholi.