The Kerala crime branch, which is investigating actor Dileep and his associates in the conspiracy to murder case, has stated that the actor erased his chat history with as many as 12 contacts before turning in his phone for forensic examination.
Dileep is under trial as the chief conspirator behind the 2017 female actor abduction and sexual assault. On January 9, 2022, the crime branch filed a new FIR against the actor and his associates for plotting to kill the officers investigating the assault case, and a fresh probe was launched.
Following this, the Kerala High Court had directed the accused to submit their mobile phones as part of the ongoing investigation. However, forensic examination of the phones revealed that they had been tampered with and some of their data had been erased prior to handing them over to the court. The crime branch has since been involved in determining what was deleted and in attempting to recover the lost data.
On Monday, the crime branch submitted a report of its findings to the Aluva magistrate court.
This report states that Dileep’s chat history with a popular female Malayalam actor was part of the deleted data. Moreover, the investigation report adds that Dileep’s conversations with Dubai-based businessman Galaph, who is the CEO of Sharjah Cricket Association, as well as those with the actor’s partner in the Dhe Puttu restaurant venture, his wife Kavya Madhavan, and his brother-in-law Suraj, were all deleted too.
The report also states that Dileep had erased his chats with two Dubai-based people, one of whom is from Thrissur, while the other is a person named Naseer from Mallappuram, who runs a supermarket in Dubai.
Further, the crime branch reported that Sai Sankar, a private cyber expert and hacker, helped Dileep in deleting the chats.
The deleted data is said to be beyond recovery and the reason for erasing the chats is not clear as yet.
However, the crime branch alleges that the deletion was intentional and notes that the data could have been critical evidence in the case. The investigators also submitted that further probe would be required to find the reasons behind the deletion and added that it could possibly be an attempt to divert the investigation.
Meanwhile, the crime branch also interrogated a former Income Tax officer named Vincent Chowallur over his connection to Dileep. Chowallur is said to be the person who had introduced Dileep’s lawyers to the Mumbai-based lab that was involved in erasing data from the actor’s phone.
For a full timeline of the female actor abduction and assault case, see here.