Actor assault case: Woman judge to preside over speedy trial

The Kerala government, in its response to the High Court, recommended that a special court be constituted to hear the case.
Actor assault case: Woman judge to preside over speedy trial
Actor assault case: Woman judge to preside over speedy trial
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The Kerala government on Saturday recommended that a special court be constituted, and that a woman judge hear the actor abduction case that shook the Malayalam film industry in February last year. The government has also said that the case required a speedy trial.

The actor had approached both the court and the state government and requested that the case should have an in-camera trial, a special court be constituted and that a woman judge preside over the case.

In its response to the High Court on July 21, the government said:

“As the case became a sensational one that was widely discussed in media and also many litigation are arising in this matter, government is of the view that the speedy disposal of the trial is essential.

Hence, considering the special circumstances, government is of opinion that a special court may be constituted headed by a woman judge for the trial of the above said case for a period of one year or until the closure of trial, whichever is earlier.”

On April 4, the High Court had issued directions to the Principal Sessions Judge of Ernakulam, who is hearing the case, to expedite the trial in the case.

In February last year, a popular woman actor from the Malayalam movie industry was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car, when she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi. The crime sent shock waves across the state and in the entertainment industry in the country.

Dileep, an influential actor in the same industry, is alleged to be the mastermind behind the crime. According to the charge sheet filed by the police, Dileep held a grudge against the survivor and hired others, including prime accused Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni, to assault the actor and film the act to blackmail her later.

Dileep has also been accused of trying to delay the probe in the case.

Earlier in 2017, he had written to the home secretary asking for the investigation team to be reconstituted or order a CBI probe into the case.

In the first week of March, just a few days before the trial proceedings were to begin, Dileep had approached the Kerala High Court asking for a delay in the starting of the trial. At the time, he had argued that he hadn’t received all the documents in the case yet. His plea was, however, not entertained by the court, which held that the trial cannot be delayed.

Dileep was arrested on July 10, 2017 for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy and spent 85 days in custody. He got bail on October 3, 2017 after failing to secure bail four times.

The Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA) recently received much flak recently when it decided to reinstate Dileep in a recent meeting. This move was immediately slammed by activists, movie stars and educationists. The Women in Cinema Collective immediately wrote to AMMA, asking it to reconsider its decision, even as four actors resigned from the body.

In a press meet later, Mohanlal, President of AMMA, said that Dileep had decided not to come back to the body. "Now, Dileep doesn't want to come to AMMA. So what is the point of us discussing whether to take him back?" he had said.

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