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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Kerala actor abduction-assault case: Trial court directs police to probe director’s revelations

The accused, Dileep, an actor himself, had allegedly seen the footage of the sexual assault at his home, film director Balachandrakumar told a Malayalam TV channel in an interview last week.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: January 5, 2022 12:25:58 am
DileepAudio clips purportedly attributed to Dileep was released by a TV channel recently in which the actor was allegedly heard conspiring to attack the official. (Photo: Facebook/Dileep)

A trial court in Kochi hearing the case of abduction and sexual assault of a leading actress directed the police on Tuesday to probe a recent revelation that one of the accused had seen a video of the assault before it was produced in court.

The accused, Dileep, an actor himself, had allegedly seen the footage of the sexual assault at his home, film director Balachandrakumar told a Malayalam TV channel in an interview last week. Dileep, the director alleged, had a “close friendship” with the prime accused in the case, Sunil Kumar, alias Pulsar Suni, and got access to the video after he was released on bail. Following the interview, Balachandrakumar’s statement was recorded by the investigating team.

The court directed the police to submit its report on the disclosure by January 20. It, however, has not decided on the prosecution’s demand for a further probe into the sensational 2017 case based on the fresh revelation.

Dileep, meanwhile, has alleged a conspiracy behind Balachandrakumar’s disclosure and petitioned the trial court demanding call and travel details of the investigating officer, Baiju Poulose, be seized. He also petitioned the state police chief for the same.

The rape survivor, on her part, also petitioned the chief minister to probe into the director’s revelation.

The new allegation against Dileep and the prosecution’s demand for further probe comes at a time when trial court’s six-month extension, given by the Supreme Court in August last year, is set to expire next month. The trial was meant to be completed in February last year as per an earlier order of the apex court, but it was granted an extension after it pointed out the pandemic situation.

Besides, the trial has got another twist with special prosecutor VN Anil Kumar last week submitting his resignation to Director General of Prosecution TA Shaji. The special prosecutor had walked out of the court last Wednesday when it told him to submit in writing his request for deferring the examination of investigating officer Poulose. Sources said the court has already examined 203 witnesses in the case, but Poulose was delaying his turn at the court.

The special prosecutor was not present in the trial court on Tuesday even as a decision on his resignation is pending before the government.

This is the second time during the trial of the sensational case that the relation between the trial court and the prosecution has gone sore. In 2020, the previous special prosecutor A Sureshan put in papers alleging that the trial court was “biased and hostile”. The High Court had rejected Sureshan’s demand for transfer of the trial court.

Apart from the prosecution, the victim of the assault had also alleged that the trial court was biased. The High Court had then said if the trial court and the prosecutor don’t work in sync, the guilty would escape from the clutches of law or the innocent would end up being punished.

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