A forensic expert named Sai Sankar has claimed that he was harassed into giving a statement against actor Dileep, who is currently under trial as the chief conspirator behind the 2017 female actor abduction and sexual assault as well as under investigation for allegedly plotting to kill the officers involved in that case.
Sankar filed a petition at Kerala High Court stating that he was threatened by crime branch officials into providing a statement that he had seen some visuals on the actor’s phone, which were later destroyed under the direction of Dileep and his lawyers.
In his plea, the forensic expert said that Deputy Superintendent of Police Baiju Paulose and Superintendent of Police Sudharsanan of the Thrissur Crime Branch had coerced him and his wife to give the statements against Dileep.
Sankar further claimed that he was framed in two cases earlier over his enmity with Paulose and the officers had assured him that these charges would be dropped if he provided evidence against the actor.
The High Court has strictly directed officials of the crime branch to not summon Sankar for questioning without prior notice and scheduled his plea for hearing on Monday by Justice Anu Sivaraman.
Sankar told the court that he had met Dileep in the office of the actor’s advocate, and as per Dileep’s requirement, photos from his phone were transferred to the pen drive. However, there was no tampering with the contents of the phone, he stated.
It may be noted that on the HC’s order, Dileep and the other accused had surrendered their mobile phones as part of the probe into the alleged conspiracy to murder case. The gadgets are being scrutinised by cyber forensic experts.
The crime branch had earlier said that some of the phones that were submitted to the court had been tampered with and had some data deleted from them before they were turned in.
In a recent development on this front, forensic experts have determined that a particular laptop was used to delete data from Dileep’s phone. It has further been found that the laptop used for deleting the data belonged to an accused in a cheating case.
An accomplice of the actor had reportedly got in touch with the owner of the laptop, whose identity has not been revealed by the investigators. The laptop was online in Kochi and the person had logged into it using the name of a woman running a clothing shop in Kozhikode. As per preliminary findings, incriminating data against Dileep in the conspiracy to murder case was deleted from the phone with the help of the unnamed laptop owner.
The police are still working on retrieving the lost data.
For a full timeline of the female actor abduction and assault case, see here.