It has been three long years since actress Jiah Khan passed away. Her mother Rabia Khan has accused her then boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi over her daugher’s death, the probe of which is still on.
Adding a new twist in the case is the latest report by a UK forensic expert that suggest the Jiah Khan’s hanging was staged.
According to a popular tabloid, Jason Payne-Jame’s findings are contradicting Indian experts’ report on Khan’s death. While Rabia plans to share the same with the city sessions court today, one wonders if it would be accepted by the court of law, since the expert has been hired privately by Rabia and not the state.
Interestingly, this new development has come a month after the Bombay High Court ruled out the possibility of a murder in the case.
Rabia, since day one, has refused to accept that her daughter could commit suicide and feels it was her then boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi, who is responsible for her death.
The state’s forensic experts had said the injury marks on Jiah’s lower lip were probably the result of “friction with the teeth during the commission of the act [suicide]”. But Payne-James has said the injuries “represent either abrasions or bruises”, and are indicative of “blunt force trauma to the mouth region (for example punching or a hand placed over the mouth)”.
“In terms of their site and appearance, they are not typical of teeth marks,” the report states.
State forensic experts had said the ligature marks on Jiah’s neck “may be caused due to slippage of ligature material [dupatta] slightly downwards or the ligature knot present at that site”.
But Payne-James concluded that the dupatta could not have created such impressions. “It would seem unlikely that the diffuse pressure of the dupatta around the neck would cause the well-defined abraded ligature mark seen,” he has said.
The British forensic experts has also ruled out the possibility of the dupatta creating marks on Jiah’s lower jaw, contradicting state experts’ opinion that said the injury may have been caused by multiple knots on the dupatta.
“I would have expected any forensic specialist to have insisted on seeing the dupatta. I do not see that there is any realistic possibility of the dupatta creating the patterned injury under the chin. Other causes or objects should have been considered such as a blunt impact from a patterned object, or a ligature made of different material,” Payne-James’s report states.
He has questioned Indian investigators’ failure to explore theories other than suicide. “I do not believe that the possibility of a staged hanging after death that has been caused previously has been properly considered (e.g. ligature strangulation with some other material and then Nafisa Khan being ‘hung’ with the dupatta),” he has said. Jiah’s real name was Nafisa Khan.
He adds: “The marks on the left arm and the lower lip are consistent with assaultive injuries… the marks of ligature and the mark on the chin are not consistent with simple hanging with the dupatta.”
After the UK forensic expert’s report was out, Rabia when contacted by a popular website said, “I always said what the report is saying. They had been dilly dallying. Nobody is a fool or is blind. How long can you fool someone? You cannot fool the world. Especially Jason, who is a British National consultant and works for a National agency. He isn’t someone that one can buy.”
Since the forensic expert is hired by Rabia herself and isn’t appointed by the court, on asking her if they will accept his findings and she states, “I have all my hopes because last time the judge was also indicating the observations made in the report. Forget about the personal issues, forensic speaks about the truth. I want the truth that’s it and I am fighting for it. I am not an Avenger.”
However, Sooraj’s father actor Aditya Pancholi has raised doubts over the admissibility of the report and said, “This report is from a private forensic lab and it’s paid. We will see if a court admits it or not. The investigations have been done by different agencies and all of them have come to the same conclusion [that it was a suicide].”
Quiz Rabia what she has to say about Aditya’s statement and she retorts, “Well he is being very arrogant. Jason is here to help the judiciary. They are professional people and he cannot be bought. That is Aditya Pancholi’s mentality. He speaks for himself and not for me. This is for Nafisa who contributed her innocence, beauty, talent to this country. She was not even born here. All she did was loved – the country, her work and this guy. Anyone can be in her place.”