The Ernakulam Additional Special Sessions Court on Thursday rejected the prosecution’s petition to cancel the bail granted to actor Dileep, who is the eighth accused in the case of the abduction and sexual assault of a female Malayalam actor.
The prosecution had earlier filed a petition requesting for the cancellation of Dileep’s bail on the grounds that he tried to influence some of the witnesses in the case.
The court, which was supposed to pronounce its order on Tuesday, adjourned the case till Thursday. According to reports, the court dismissed the prosecution’s arguments as they could not provide any proof to support their allegation.
The trial, after coming to a halt in the beginning of February when Philip Varghese, Dileep’s counsel, tested positive for Covid-19, resumed on February 16. After resuming the trial, the court granted the request of the 10th accused, Vishnu, to turn an approver.
Vishnu had sought to turn approver in January. He offered to admit his role in the case and reveal all the details he knows. Vishnu was accused of smuggling a mobile phone inside the jail to Pulsar Suni, the first accused. According to the prosecution, he also conspired with the other accused to extort money from Dileep.
The case so far
On February 17, 2017, a female Mayalam actor was abducted while she was travelling from Kochi to Thrissur in Kerala. She was sexually assaulted and then dropped near the residence of director Lal. Soon after the incident, the first accused in the abduction case, Pulsar Suni, the driver of the vehicle she was assaulted in, was arrested. In June 2017, Pulsar Suni revealed that Dileep had conspired in the assault.
Dileep was arrested on July 20, 2017 as the eighth accused in the case. While Dileep was in police custody, the Special Investigation Team told the court that they had strong evidence, including call records and deposition of eyewitnesses, confirming the actor’s involvement in the crime.
After being in jail for 85 days, he was granted bail in October 2017. While granting him bail, the court had told him not to influence any of the witnesses. Dileep had later allegedly attempted to stall the trial proceedings by filing pleas seeking visuals of the attack and requesting a CBI investigation in the case. He was eventually called out by the Kerala High Court in 2019 for trying to delay the court proceedings.
In October 2020, both the survivor and the prosecution moved the Kerala High Court to transfer the trial from Ernakulam claiming bias on the part of the judge. However, the high court dismissed the pleas after observing that there were no sustainable grounds to transfer the case. The prosecution later moved the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court also rejected the state’s plea and upheld the decision of the Kerala High Court.
In protest, special prosecutor A Sureshan, resigned on November 24, 2020. He was later replaced by VN Anilkumar.