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Malayalam Actor Assault Case: Trial to Resume on January 21 After Three-Month Hiatus

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The trial in the case of the abduction and sexual assault of a female Malayalam actor will resume in the Additional Special Sessions Court in Ernakulam, after a hiatus of three months. One of the main accused in the case is actor Dileep.

Around 120 witnesses will be examined from January 21 to March 3.

Actor Vipin Lal, who is an approver in the case, will be examined on January 21. Dileep’s wife Kavya Madhavan and Dileep’s friend filmmaker Nadirsha will also be examined. Dileep is one of eight accused in the case.

On Monday, the court heard a petition filed by the prosecution to change the IPC offence under which Dileep has been charged. According to the prosecution, the current charge might weaken the prosecution’s case. Dileep’s counsel, however, objected to the petition, reported The Times of India.

The court also has a few other petitions pending before it, including a petition from the prosecution to cancel a bail plea filed by Dileep, for violating his bail conditions and for trying to influence the witness. Bail pleas filed by two other accused persons in the case are also pending. The court will review all the pending petitions on Friday.

Special Prosecutor VN Anilkumar has replaced A Sureshan, who resigned on November 24, 2020 after the Kerala High Court dismissed the prosecution’s plea to transfer the trial, claiming bias on the part of the judge. Anilkumar has sought for some time to go through the petitions.

In October 2020, both the survivor and the prosecution had moved the Kerala High Court to transfer the trial from Ernakulam. However, the high court dismissed the pleas after observing that there was no sustainable grounds to transfer the case. The prosecution later moved the Supreme Court of India. However, the Supreme Court also rejected the state’s plea and upheld the decision of the Kerala High Court.

The case began in February 17, 2017, when the survivor 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 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 granted bail in October. Ever since he was let out on bail, the prosecution counsel has alleged that the trial proceedings were being constantly delayed. Dileep, who had been removed as a primary member of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), was reinstated in 2018. Subsequently, Rima Kallingal, Geetu Mohandas, Remya Nambeesan and the survivor resigned from AMMA.

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