The Kerala crime branch has reportedly retrieved the data that was erased from actor Dileep’s phone, which was submitted as part of the ongoing investigation in the 2017 female actor abduction and sexual assault case.
In February 2017, a female actor, who predominantly works in Malayalam and Kannada cinema, was abducted and sexually assaulted by a gang of men in a moving car en route to Kochi from Thrissur.
Dileep is currently under trial as the chief conspirator behind this incident and under investigation for allegedly plotting to kill the officers involved in that case. He and the others accused of the latter conspiracy were ordered to submit their phones as evidence earlier this year.
However, the crime branch’s investigation earlier revealed that a cyber expert named Sai Sankar had aided in deleting some data from Dileep’s phone before it was submitted to the court. This included WhatsApp calls, chats, phone call records, and personal information. The police had seized the laptop allegedly used by Sankar to wipe out the data from the phone.
Sankar, who had earlier claimed that crime branch officials had harassed him into giving a statement against Dileep, reportedly confessed during his interrogation that the actor had asked him to delete data pertaining to court proceedings in the case.
The officials further stated that Sankar confessed that Dileep had asked him to remove the data from his phone so that it could not be recovered. But, Sankar had saved crucial data from the phone before erasing it and this has seemingly enabled the police to retrieve it. No details of the data recovered has been revealed except that it included some WhatsApp chats.
Meanwhile, Dileep will appear before the crime branch on Monday for further interrogation in the actor assault case. This marks the third time the actor is being brought in for questioning. He was earlier summoned for inquiry after a further probe was ordered, at the end of 2021, based on filmmaker Balachandra Kumar’s allegations.
The recent summons follows the allegation by the prosecution that the accused had illegally accessed the memory card containing visuals of the sexual assault, which was in court custody. While this allegation was first raised by the survivor, the prosecution later filed a report before the Additional Special Sessions Court confirming the illegal access of the memory card.
The actor is likely to also be questioned about the new findings in the case with respect to the data retrieved from his phone.
For a full timeline of the female actor abduction and assault case, see here.