After being accused of abetting the suicide of Jiah Khan since the incident in 2013, the prosecution on Thursday told the special court that charges should be framed against actor Sooraj Pancholi for murder, rape and forcing a woman to have an abortion. Both the police and Central Bureau of India chargesheets in the case had booked Sooraj for abetment of suicide and ruled out murder.

Special judge A S Shende will continue to hear arguments on the plea on May 20. The actor also moved an application seeking discharge from the case. The proceedings, which commenced after the Bombay high court recently lifted the stay on the trial, saw the judge coming down on the absence of the special public prosecutor and the CBI’s reluctance to commence with arguments on framing the charges. The court then directed the court prosecutor to commence with the arguments.

Public prosecutor Kalpana Hire told the court that the victim’s mother, Rabia Khan, had told the cops that she believed that her daughter was murdered. She alleged that Jiah’s suicide note alluded to the fact that the abortion was forced. Sooraj’s lawyer, Prashant Patil, opposed the plea, and said that there was no evidence to prove any of the charges. He referred to the post-mortem report and claimed that strangulation can be ruled out. Patil said that witnesses prima facie said that Jiah had herself gone to the abortion clinic to discontinue with her pregnancy.

The lawyer denied that Sooraj had extricated the foetus. “The foetus was three to four weeks old and cannot be forcefully pulled out, as it was larger larger than 0.5 cm to 0.13 cm,” he said. He also said there was evidence to show that Sooraj was not responsible for the pregnancy.

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