On the morning of July 11, hours after Malayalam actor Dileep was arrested in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor, he was escorted to the jail, amidst a sea of people chanting "Welcome to central jail", the title of one of his movies. That morning, the air outside the prison was thick with people criticising the actor.
85 days since that morning, scores of people gathered outside the same jail, but this time, the crowd cheered Dileep, welcoming him after his long stay in judicial custody.
Clad in a white shirt and sporting a beard, Malayalam actor Dileep walked out of the Aluva sub-jail in Kerala on Tuesday evening, after he secured bail from the High Court earlier in the day.
Photo by Lenin CV
The leading actor - who is the eleventh accused in the abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor in February- walked out of the prison gates at around 5 20 pm, to a sea of fans engulfing the area.
Maintaining a wide smile throughout, Dileep, who was escorted by policemen, walked to his car and waved at the hundreds of people who had gathered outside the prison.
It was evident that the star in him was not in the least abashed by the arrest and subsequent legal proceedings. He waved, folded his hands in greeting, and even gave flying kisses to the cheering crowds. Crackers were burst as the actor came out of jail, and many in the crowd held flower bouquets in their hands.
Although reporters extended their mics to the actor, Dileep chose not to make any comments, neither for the media, nor for his fans.
Earlier on Tuesday, the same bench of the Kerala High Court that had previously rejected his plea twice, granted bail to the actor, noting that there were changes in the circumstances. This was the fifth time that Dileep had approached the court seeking bail.
The court said that since the investigation had reached its final stages, all the crucial witnesses had been questioned and the collection of evidence had been completed, the continued custody of the accused was no longer justified.
In its 7-page order, the court also said that Dileep's bail was liable to be cancelled, if any of the conditions were violated.
Granting him a conditional bail, the HC asked him not to influence the witnesses in the case and warned him against making comments about the survivor to the media.
According to reports, Dileep will be heading to his ancestral home in Paravoor.