The police are reportedly set to question court employees regarding the leak of the visuals of the sexual assault on the female Malayalam actor who was abducted and assaulted in 2017. Actor Dileep is facing trial as the chief conspirator in this actor abduction and assault case.
According to sources in the crime branch, two employees of the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court will be interrogated in the first phase. The sheristadar (a court officer) and the clerk who was in charge of keeping material evidence will be the ones questioned.
The police had earlier sought permission to question the court staff after a forensic report revealed that the memory cards containing the visuals of sexual assault, kept in the lower court, were accessed. The hash value of the files in question were changed while they were still in the custody of the court. A ‘hash value’ is a numeric value of fixed length that uniquely identifies data. A change in this value indicates that the files were accessed.
The crime branch had sought the court’s permission to interrogate the staff who were on duty on December 13, 2018, as the forensic report says the hash value was changed on that date.
The court had, on April 4, granted the investigating team permission to interrogate its staff.
The case dates back to February 17, 2017, when a female actor who predominantly works in Malayalam and Kannada cinema was abducted while she was travelling from Kochi to Thrissur in Kerala. She was sexually assaulted in the moving car and then dropped off near the residence of director Lal. Soon after the incident, Pulsar Suni, the driver of the vehicle she was assaulted in, was arrested as the first accused in the case. In June 2017, Pulsar Suni said that actor Dileep had conspired in the assault.
On July 20, 2017, Dileep was arrested as the eighth accused in the case. He was later granted bail that October. Ever since he was let out on bail, the prosecution counsel has alleged that the trial proceedings were being constantly delayed.
At the end of 2021, the case gained momentum again when some serious allegations were levelled against Dileep by filmmaker Balachandra Kumar. The latter alleged that Dileep had watched the video of the sexual assault at his house. Based on this and Kumar’s other allegations, the trial court directed the crime branch to conduct a fresh probe into the case.
The questioning of the court staff is part of this ongoing probe. Earlier, the interrogation of actor Kavya Madhavan, wife of actor Dileep, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday, was deferred over a confusion on where she should be questioned.