The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has expressed concern over the transfer of ADGP Sreejith, who was leading the investigation into the 2017 female actor abduction and sexual assault case and the conspiracy to murder officers case. Actor Dileep stands as the primary accused in both the cases.
Sreejith, who was an official of the Kerala crime branch, has now been posted as Transport Commissioner. He has been replaced by Shaik Darvesh Saheb, former ADGP for prisons.
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. In the aftermath of this incident, a group of female artists and technicians from the Malayalam film industry, including actors Manju Warrier, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Rima Kallingal and Geethu Mohandas, and editor Bina Paul, formed the WCC to speak out for the rights of women working in the industry.
A day after Sreejith’s transfer was announced, the WCC expressed its disapproval of the move via social media. They wrote, “As the investigation into our colleague’s assault case is nearing the final stage, the transfer of the police head is going to sabotage everything.”
The WCC noted that coming at a time when the court has given an additional one and half months to complete the current investigation into the case, the change of the lead officer was “as disappointing as the regular anti-climax scene in police movies.”
“A series of evidence through new twists came out from a place where it seemed justice was impossible. This evidence could prove our colleague’s complaint that the defendant’s office is trying to sabotage the case,” they added.
The WCC further said that the defence counsel had approached the court to remove the lead investigating officer just when the probe was proceeding well. “This concerns us on all levels,” the WCC added.
Earlier, Dileep’s lawyer had complained that DGP B Sandhya and ADGP S Sreejith were reportedly fabricating cases against the actor and his defence lawyers. He also alleged that cyber expert Sai Sankar was threatened into giving his statement against the lawyers, and that the ADGP used filmmaker Balachandra Kumar to sabotage the trial.
Meanwhile, the petition filed by the crime branch seeking to cancel Dileep’s bail in the actor assault case, will be heard by the Ernakulam Additional Special Sessions Court on Tuesday. The crime branch has alleged that Dileep violated bail conditions by influencing the witnesses in the case.
Aside from this, Dileep’s petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against investigation officer Baiju Paulose will also be taken up by the court on Tuesday. The actor has alleged that a document submitted to the court was leaked to the media.