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Bollywood Starlet Jiah Khan's Suicide: Boyfriend Gets Bail

Jiah Khan P
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Jiah Khan.

An Indian court says Suraj Pancholi, an aspiring actor named in her suicide note, cannot be held “solely” responsible.

NEW DELHI – Bollywood starlet Jiah Khan's death on June 3 led to the arrest of her boyfriend, Suraj Pancholi, under suspicion that he abetted her suicide. The 22-year-old aspiring actor -- the son of veteran actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab -- was reportedly named in a suicide note believed to be written by the 25-year-old Khan.

But the Bombay High Court granted Pancholi bail Monday, observing in its verdict: “No doubt that it was an unfortunate incident that a young girl has committed suicide. She [Khan] must have been impulsive and he [Pancholi] cannot be held solely responsible for it.”

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Pancholi -- who filed his bail application on June 26 -- was granted bail on a $862 (50,000-rupee) bond and instructed to surrender his passport. He was told to report to the police every alternate day.

The court also observed that a letter purportedly written by the actress and recovered from her house could not be taken as a suicide note, as it was not addressed to anyone and was not dated.

“The question is if the script recovered from the deceased's house is addressed to the applicant [Pancholi], or is it just extracts from her diary? Whether it can be called a suicide note at all? When there is no date on it can it be linked to the day she committed suicide?...Therefore it cannot be said that the emotions expressed in the letter ever reached the applicant,” said the judgement.

The letter in question was found in Khan's bedroom by her mother and sister a few days after she hung herself from a ceiling fan on June 3. In the letter, Khan mentioned how she was “mentally harassed” by Pancholi and how she had also undergone an abortion. In his bail plea, Pancholi stated that he and Khan were in a “consensual relationship” and that the letter was being misused by her mother, Rabia Khan.

STORY: Bollywood Actress Jiah Khan Dies at 25

Observing that Pancholi never nurtured an intent to push the girl to commit suicide, the court stated, “She was in the relationship on her own volition. It all depends on the pscyhe of the person. It cannot be ignored that Jiah had suicidal tendencies. Earlier also she had attempted suicide, and it was the applicant [Pancholi] who took care of her.” The court added that the deceased's mother was not aware of this incident.

“It also appears that on the day of the incident there was some misunderstanding between the deceased and applicant due to which [Khan] was in a rage of fury,” the court stated further.

Khan was born in New York but moved back to India to pursue a career as an actress. She made her Bollywood debut in 2007, starring opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the film Nishabd, which was loosely based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and generated controversy at the time. She also appeared in Ghajini with Aamir Khan. Her last role was in Housefull (2010) opposite Akshay Kumar.