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Abduction-sexual assault case: Kerala HC grants more time to examine witnesses

Prominent Malayalam actor Dileep is one of the accused in the case.

By: Express News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: January 26, 2022 2:24:00 am
The High Court directive to the prosecution came a day after the Supreme Court turned down the Kerala government’s plea to extend the time for the completion of the trial in the case.

The Kerala high court on Tuesday granted ten days to the prosecution to complete the examination of witnesses in the case related to the abduction and sexual assault of an actor in 2017. Prominent Malayalam actor Dileep is one of the accused in the case.

The high court’s directive to the prosecution came a day after the Supreme Court turned down the Kerala government’s plea to extend the time for the completion of the trial in the case.

to extend the time for completion of trial in the abduction and sexual assault case against Dileep. The court said it can do so only if the trial judge felt the need for more time, and not at the instance of the state. As per an earlier directive of the Supreme Court, the trial in the case at a special court in Kochi, has to be completed by February 16, 2022.

On January 17, the high court allowed the prosecution to examine additional witnesses, but wanted that exercise to be completed by January 27. However, the prosecution sought more time, pointing out that some of the witnesses who were based outside Kerala could not be served summons within the stipulated time. The HC granted ten more days from January 27 to complete the examination of witnesses and gather all documents.

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The case is related to the alleged abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor in Kochi in February 2017. Dileep, named among the 10 accused in the case, has been charged with offences such as criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, assaulting a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, and punishment for transmitting obscene material in electronic form under the IT Act, among others.

The case also shot into media limelight after two government pleaders resigned in the last 14 months alleging “hostile attitude” of the trial court in Kochi. Both the prosecution and the rape victim, too, had approached the Kerala high court in 2020 to remove trail court judge Honey M Varghese, although their plea was rejected.

Separately, the Kerala Police crime branch on Tuesday completed questioning of Dileep and four others in connection with the alleged conspiracy to kill police officials who had probed the abduction-sexual assault case. While considering the anticipatory bail pleas of Dileep and others last week, a single bench of the Kerala high court, in an interim order, prevented the arrest of the accused but allowed police to question them for three days till January 25. Police were told to submit a report on January 27 for further action on the bail pleas.

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