A week after Mumbai police charged actor Suraj Pancholi with abetting the alleged suicide of his actress girlfriend Jiah Khan, her mother on Wednesday said she would move the Bombay High Court seeking reinvestigation of the case by a Special Investigating Team or CBI.
Rabiya Khan, mother of British-American actor Jiah, who was found dead at her Juhu home on June 3 last year, has also approached the US authorities, requesting them for assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), since her daughter was an American citizen.
Rabiya, a British passport holder, had raised suspicion about the possibility of Nafisa Rizvi Khan a.k.a Jiah's death being a case of murder.
However, the police had last week filed a 447-page charge sheet in an Andheri court accusing Suraj of abetting Jiah's suicide on the basis of evidence gathered during the investigation, which did not indicate it was a case of murder.
"There was no evidence to show that Jiah was killed. We have gone into the material given by her mother but have not found any evidence to support the theory that it was a case of murder," a senior Mumbai police officer said.
Rabiya, however, is not satisfied with the probe and would seek the help of the high court in order to get the case investigated afresh by SIT or CBI from the angle of possible murder.
"We have no confidence in Mumbai police as it has ignored forensic evidence given to them to show that Jiah was killed and had not committed suicide. Their reports are inconclusive and tailor-made to benefit the accused," Rabiya told a press conference, adding she would approach the high court soon for direction for a probe by either CBI or SIT.
She also slammed the police for not having informed her about filing of the charge sheet which she came to know of from her lawyer and through media.
Her lawyer Dinesh Tiwari referred to a Supreme Court judgement which says that the first informant of FIR has a right to know about the filing of the charge sheet but they did not inform Rabiya despite her being one.
Rabia said she had written to US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell seeking FBI assistance in the probe.
According to a communication from the US authorities on behalf of the Ambassador, the FBI is prepared to lend a helping hand in the probe provided India agreed.
"We have reached out to the office of the US Legal Attache at the US Embassy in New Delhi. An FBI official in that office is willing to send a letter to the Indian Police Services to offer US technical and forensic assistance in the investigation of Nafisa's death.
"While FBI cannot conduct unilateral investigations outside the United States, it can review your daughter's case in an advisory role if requested by Indian law enforcement," the letter said.
A subsequent communication from Rosemary Macray, Chief of the American Citizens Services Unit, dated today, said the Legal Attache at the US embassy had yesterday sent a request letter to the CBI whose response to the offer of partnering with the US agency in the probe was awaited.
FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) provides operational support to US and international law enforcement for a range of unusual violent crimes and other criminal matters, it said.
"They (police) have not done a thorough probe. They have not properly probed the murder angle despite the high court's direction," Rabiya said.
"We shall move the Bombay High Court next week seeking that the police probe the aspect of Jiah Khan's murder as they have ignored the material given to them by Rabiya strongly suggesting that her daughter had been killed," said her lawyer Dinesh Tiwari.
In support of her claim that 25-year-old Jiah, who had made a high-profile debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Ram Gopal Varma's 'Nishabd', was murdered, Rabiya said human tissues found in her nails indicated struggle before death.
However, police have said the tissues were Jiah's own, while ruling out murder.
Soon after Jiah's death her mother had handed over a letter purportedly written by her which indicated she was in a troubled relationship with newbie actor Suraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab. Suraj, who is younger to Jiah, was arrested on the charge of abetting her suicide and later granted bail.
Rabiya had moved the Bombay High Court in October, 2013 alleging that her daughter was murdered and sought a CBI probe. Following this, the court had asked police to record her statement on those lines, collect material given by her and probe the murder angle.
As police claimed to have already probed the allegation that Jiah could have been murdered but found no corroborative evidence, Rabiya would again knock the doors of the high court, her lawyer said.
To support the murder theory, Rabiya had placed before the high court, and later the police, an independent forensic expert's report which indicated that the case was of homicidal death rather than suicide.
Alleging shoddy investigation by the police to help Jiah's boyfriend, Rabiya had said that the deceased actor may have been hanged after being killed in order to make it look like suicide.
Her petition in the high court had cited reasons to support this theory. She had contended that a person who commits suicide would have eyes popping out and tongue protruding which was not the case in Jiah's death.
Also, in such cases, lung or brain haemorrhage is generally noticed but in this case that was also not observed. The petition said that besides ligature marks that occur in death due to hanging, injury marks were noticed on the face and body of the actor.
An injury was noticed on right side of her lips and a mark on her left arm as if someone had held her tightly.
While the police claimed that Jiah had hanged herself with a muslin 'dupatta', forensic expert R N Jerajani held that the depth of ligature marks on Jiah was difficult to have been caused with a soft material.
Jerajani had said the ligature marks on Jiah's neck were not the ones usually found on the body of a person who hangs self from a ceiling fan. "The possibility of strangulation is not ruled out in this case," he had said in the forensic report.
The petition further said that CCTV camera showed Jiah entering her home a few minutes before she ended her life wearing a track suit, but her body was found in a night gown. "Would a person about to commit suicide change her dress?" Rabiya had wondered in her petition.
She said in the petition that the ceiling fan was located between two single beds and it was not possible for Jiah to hang herself without a stool, which was nowhere to be found in the house.