There is reasonable evidence to show that actor Dileep had a strained relationship with the actor who was abducted and sexually assaulted in February this year, said the Kerala High Court, while denying him bail.
Calling it a unique case, Justice Sunil Thomas said that, “Considering its seriousness, meticulous planning, cruel nature of execution and being a crime executed to wreak vengeance on a woman by engaging criminals, to sexually abuse her. Courts have to be circumspect in granting bail in such cases.”
The court also said that Dileep being a powerful person in the Malayalam film industry, he would use his influence to intimidate witnesses in the case, who belong to the same industry.
The court agreed with the prosecution argument that Dileep had a definite motive to hatch the conspiracy against the abducted actor.
“There are enough materials available on record to show that, the relationship of petitioner with victim was strained. There are versions of few persons that, the victim lost few opportunities to act in films thereafter, which affected her professional career also.”
“Dileep had married a leading actress and a child was born in the matrimonial relationship. Matrimonial disputes arose in their family, ultimately leading to a judicial separation. The petitioner (Dileep) herein suspected that, the victim, who was a close friend of his erstwhile wife, was instrumental in the disruption of his matrimonial life. To wreak vengeance, he allegedly conspired with the first accused, to abduct the victim and to take her nude photographs, on an offer that, the first accused would be paid Rupees One and Half Crores,” the HC order denying bail said.
Pointing out that conspiracies are hatched in secret and therefore direct evidence is difficult to find, the court observed that there are two sets of evidence against the actor in the case – relating to his movements and behavior before and after the crime. On the one hand, the prosecution had found that Dileep’s claim that he did not know first accused Pulsar Suni and had no occasion to meet him, had rang false.
The court also found Dileep’s complaint to the Kerala police in April this year claiming that Pulsar Suni was blackmailing him to be dubious.
“Another premise on which the investigation proceeded was that, the complaint dated 20/4/2017 submitted by Dileep to the Director General of Police was a clever move to preempt a possible revelation of the involvement of the petitioner in the BA No.5098/2017 7 crime, by the first accused.”
The court noted that, as Dileep is a famous actor, and an influential figure in the Malayalam film industry, he could influence or threaten witnesses who are a part of the industry. “The petitioner, being a noted film actor, is also involved in the distribution and production of films and is also owner of a theater. Definitely, he must be wielding considerable command on the industry.”
Crucially the court also pointed out that the crucial material evidence in the case, the memory card containing the recording of the sexual assault had not yet been recovered. “The memory card is a potential threat to the life of the victim and there is every possibility of any of the accused attempting to interfere in the investigation and the prosecution with the memory card.”
The court also called the crime diabolic, “The incident that happened on 17/2/2017 is very serious. A young actress was abducted in the busiest National Highway, taken through the city for about two and half hours, subjected to the shocking ordeal of sexual assault and video graphed, inside a moving car. The commission of crime is so cruel and diabolic and liable to shake the conscience of the society.”