A. Sureshan, the special prosecutor of the abduction and sexual assault case of a female Malayalam actor, resigned on Monday and returned the briefs to the Additional Chief Secretary of the Kerala government, reported Live Law. The resignation comes in the wake of the Kerala High Court’s refusal to transfer the trial to another court.
According to a report by The Hindu, the Special Judge has now directed the investigation officer to make alternate arrangements to resume the case by November 26. The date was fixed after directions from the Supreme Court to complete the trial on or before 4 February 2021.
Malayalam actor Dileep is the eighth out of 10 accused in a case of abduction and sexual assault of a female actor.
The case has been on trial for three years now, and here’s a timeline of how it has been delayed.
In the year 2017,
February 18: The actor was on her way to Kerala’s Thrissur from a shoot in Kochi when she was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car. The vehicle dropped her near actor-director Lal’s residence. She filed a police complaint the same night.
February 24: Pulsar Suni, who was driving the vehicle in which the incident took place, was taken into police custody inside the premises of the high court where he had come to present himself before the court, thereby evade police arrest.
July 10: Actor Dileep was arrested after the accused Suni mentioned that Dileep had conspired the assault.
July 25: The court extended Dileep’s police custody till August 8 that same year as the Special Investigation Team asked for more time to collect strong evidence that can confirm the actor’s involvement in the case.
September 27: The prosecution presented detailed information that Dileep had offered Rs 3 crores to Suni in order to commit the act along with several other information that helps in understanding the conspiracy behind the abduction and assault.
October 3: Dileep was granted bail with a bond of Rs 1 Lakh and an agreement that the actor can not leave the country without the court’s permission.
The prosecution counsel has reportedly alleged that the trial proceedings were constantly being delayed ever since Dileep was out on bail. Moving on to 2018,
June 24: Dileep, who had been suspended from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), was reinstated to the organisation after the leadership approved a section of members, including Siddique and Urmila Unni’s demand.
Subsequently, the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) which was registered as an official body few days prior to this, registers its protest through a Facebook post where it condemned the act of reinstalling a sexual assault accused member as unethical.
August 14: The Kerala High Court for the third time rejected Dileep’s plea seeking a copy of the visuals the court. The petition was a response to the survivor’s claim that the accused had filmed the assault with intent to blackmail, in case she decided to approach the police.
December 19: The court rejected Dileep’s plea seeking a CBI investigation into the case. Stating that the accused could not demand which agency should investigate the case, the court sided with the Kerala government that said there was a ploy to stall the case proceedings.
The case is taken forward to 2019,
February 25: The Kerala High Court accepts the survivor’s plea and grants a woman judge to preside over the case. According to the court, the transfer of the case will “safeguard the interest of the victim” and will be “expedient in the interest of justice”
March 10: The High Court calls out Dileep for trying to stall the case proceedings. The court referred to Dileep’s plea against a previous order that directed the case to be disposed of within six months. It also stated that the ‘cat which was trapped had been let out.’
In spite of the court’s order to complete the trial in six months from November 2019, the case is still continuing in the present year 2020,
October 12: Actor Parvathy Thirovothu resigned from AMMA in protest of general secretary Edavela Babu’s remarks about the assault survivor during an interview with Reporter TV. Subsequently, actors Revathy and Padmapriya wrote a letter questioning the stand taken by the AMMA leaders.
October 30: The prosecutors of the case moved the Kerala High Court to transfer the trial to another court. the survivor and the prosecution had also alleged that derogatory comments were made in court against the Special Public Prosecutor, that there had been repeated adjournments, and that the survivor had been harassed in the name of examination, while the court remained silent.
November 20: The Kerala High Court on Friday rejected the plea to transfer the trial in the case. Both the survivor and the prosecution filed a plea for a transfer, alleging that the judge in the Additional Sessions Special Court in Ernakulam, Kerala, was biased.