Bollywood actor gets bail three weeks after arrest

Last updated 01:00 02/07/2013

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Aspiring Bollywood actor Suraj Pancholi has left prison on bail three weeks after being arrested over a possible role in the suicide of his actress girlfriend Jiah Khan.

Pancholi, 22, the son of Bollywood acting couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, was released after a Mumbai court set bail at 50,000 rupees (about NZ$1000).

''He has been let out on bail today. He had to pay 50,000 rupees,'' Pancholi's lawyer Zamir Khan told Reuters by telephone.

Investigators had requested the court for more time to question him about Jiah Khan's death on June 3. Her last call was to Pancholi.

The actor was arrested on June 10 after Khan's mother Rabia went public with a letter apparently written by the 25-year-old actress before she hanged herself in her Mumbai apartment. 

In the letter, widely published in the Indian media, Khan spoke of being physically and emotionally abused and of having an abortion against her will although she did not mention any names.

Police have yet to file any charges against Pancholi. Suicide is a crime in India and abetting suicide is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Khan, whose real name was Nafisa Khan, made her Bollywood debut in 2007 with Ram Gopal Varma's ''Nishabd'', playing the 18-year-old female lead opposite one of India's best known actors, Amitabh Bachchan.

''Nishabd'' received mixed reviews and did not do well at the Bollywood box office but Khan went on to play supporting roles in two more films, the psychological thriller ''Ghajini'' in 2008 and the comedy ''Housefull'' in 2010.

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- Fairfax Media

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