The Kerala police on Monday, took into custody Malayalam actor Dileep in connection with the abduction and alleged sexual assault of a woman actor in February this year.
This development is sure to send shockwaves across the Malayalam film industry and the state of Kerala, for Dileep was seen as an influential celebrity.
According to reports, he will be produced before the magistrate soon.
Police sources say that the conspiracy to abduct and allegedly sexually assault the actor was hatched by Dileep due to personal enmity.
Dileep was called into the Aluva police station for questioning on Monday morning. The police decided to take him into custody after they collected “irrefutable proof” of his involvement in the conspiracy to abduct and assault the actor. The actor had been abducted and assaulted in February this year and it had been alleged that Dileep and his friend Nadirshah who had a tiff with her over some business deals, had hired Pulsar Suni and others to carry out the crime.
Confirming that the police have arrested actor Dileep in the case, DGP Loknath Behera said in a press conference: "We have arrested him based on sufficient evidence. Investigation is going on, we are still collective evidence. It is to further our investigation that we have arrested the actor. A person is arrested for two reasons- one is to give a direction to the probe and the other is to collect more evidence."
"We assure you that proper treatment will be given to the actor and his rights will not be violated. All legal procedures will be followed in the case," DGP said, refusing to divulge other details of the case.
While actor Dileep had claimed in a 13-hour interrogation two weeks ago that he did not know Pulsar Suni, the prime accused in the case, the police recovered a photograph of Suni at the shooting location of Dileep's recent film Georgettan's Pooram. Following this, the police recorded statements of technicians who worked on the film, including the production team.
The photo, according to police sources proved Suni's presence at the shooting location in a club in Thrissur. It is after the photograph surfaced, that the investigation team decided to make the arrest of the actor. Police sources had earlier told TNM that Dileep had close links with Pulsar Suni.
Dileep's involvement in the abduction case came to light after a letter written by Pulsar Suni's cell mate to Dileep, accusing him of masterminding the crime was leaked to the media.
Two weeks ago, the police had raided the office of Laksyah, the online clothing store owned by Dileep's wife Kavya Madhavan.
The premises of the e-commerce business, Laksyah, which was started in June 2015 by Kavya, came under the scrutiny of the police because Pulsar Suni had mentioned visiting a shop in Kakkanad in a letter that he had allegedly sent to Dileep.
Producer and director Nadirshah, also a friend of Dileep, was also interrogated by the police two weeks ago. It remains to be seen if Kavya Madhavan and Nadirshah will also be arrested in connection with the crime.
The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) also rallied behind the tainted actor over the past few weeks. However, the Association was at the receiving end of much flak for defending the actor.