Actress assault case: HC dismisses actor Dileep plea to suspend further probe

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of Malayalam actor Dileep seeking to suspend further probe into the 2017 abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor, in which he is one of the accused.

Dismissing the actor’s petition, the bench of Justice Kauser Edappagath ordered that the investigation should be completed by April 15.

Earlier this year, the prosecution began further investigation in the case following fresh allegations made by film director Balachandrakumar, an estranged friend of Dileep, who is the eighth accused in the assault case. Balachandrakumar had alleged that Dileep had seen footage of the sexual assault at his home.

Dileep, he alleged, had a “close friendship” with the prime accused in the case, Sunil Kumar, alias Pulsar Suni, and got access to the video after being released on bail. The trial court subsequently directed police to probe Balachandrakumar’s allegation that one of the accused in the case had seen a video of the assault before the video was produced in court.

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While dismissing the petition, the High Court said, “It is made clear that this court has not made any findings or observations as to the veracity, truthfulness or reliability of the disclosures made by Balachandrakumar in his petition, or as to the genuineness, relevance or acceptability of any material collected by the investigating agency so far in the ongoing further investigation.’’

Police had submitted the final report in the case in November 2017 and charges were framed in January 2020. Trial in the case is going on at a special court in Kochi.

Dileep told the HC that Balachandrakumar is a tool in the hands of the investigating officer and fresh allegations made by him is a narrative prepared at the behest of the officer to fabricate evidence against him. This came after the officer realised that evidence brought in was insufficient to convict the petitioner (Dileep), the actor submitted.

The court said further investigation is the privilege and prerogative of the investigating officer, and permission for it is only a formality.

It said inherent power vested with the court to quash further investigation could only be exercised sparingly and with circumspection, barring exceptional cases — such as if further investigation is frivolous, vexatious, or is maliciously initiated with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused, or the power of the investigating officer is exercised malafide, or where there is abuse of power.

The petitioner, the court held, could not establish any of these grounds.

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