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CBI Charges Sooraj Pancholi with Abetment to Suicide, Explains His Part in Jiah Khan's Abortion

Yesterday, a chargesheet was filed by the CBI in the Jiah Khan suicide case , and now an anonymous source has given Mumbai Mirror some horrifying details about Jiah’s pregnancy and subsequent abortion, which was aided by her boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi. These details were unearthed only now, when the CBI recorded statements of doctors, who are among the 11 new witnesses examined.

According to the daily, although the special crime division of the CBI doesn't make a case for homicide, it could make the abetment to suicide case against Sooraj stronger. The source told the newspaper that Jiah was four weeks pregnant when she informed Sooraj about it. They approached a physician who prescribed some medicines for medical termination of pregnancy but that didn't help, so they approached another doctor and, finally, a gynaecologist, who prescribed Jiah stronger drugs.

“After taking the medicine, Khan started haemorrhaging and called Pancholi for help. She was in pain and needed immediate medical attention but he allegedly asked her to wait and called up the gynaecologist for guidance. He was asked to rush Khan to hospital as the foetus had probably aborted but had not been expelled from the body, which is probably what led to the haemorrhaging,” the chargesheet says. It adds that Sooraj was afraid that if Jiah got hospitalised, their relationship would become public knowledge and his career would be adversely affected. So, instead of going to a hospital, he extricated the foetus himself and disposed it off in the toilet.

“This added to her depression which finally drove her to suicide,” the chargesheet says, “The wilful conduct of the accused narrated in the note written by the deceased, her intimate relationship, the physical abuse, the mental and physical torture which she experienced, allegedly led the deceased to commit suicide.”

The daily adds that officially, the CBI has maintained that a case under Section 306 of the IPC was made out against a “private person”. Section 306 of the IPC deals with abetment to suicide and carries a maximum imprisonment of 10 years and a fine.

Jiah’s mother had shared her suicide note with the media after her death, and it also mentioned the pregnancy and abortion. At one point, Jiah wrote, “I've never given so much of myself to someone or cared so much. You returned my love with cheating and lies. It didn't matter how many gifts I gave you or how beautiful I looked for you. I was scared of getting pregnant but I gave myself completely the pain you have caused me every day has destroyed every bit of me, destroyed my soul… The Goa trip was my birthday present but even after you cheated I still spent on you. I aborted our baby when it hurt me deeply.”

It’s possible that Jiah could have been saved a lot of physical and emotional trauma if Sooraj wasn’t worried about going to a hospital with a pregnant girlfriend. If abortion weren’t such a taboo topic, if conversations around women’s bodies and what they choose to do with it weren’t met with judgement, she would have had better access to medical care or known what to expect after taking the drugs. In a world where desperate women abandon their newborns because of skewed laws or, closer home, rape victims are refused abortions , it’s time an open discussion about abortion is made a priority.

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