The Kerala High Court has directed that the phones that were surrendered by Dileep and the other accused in the new conspiracy case are to be handed over to the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Aluva. The court was hearing Dileepâ€™s anticipatory bail plea, which it again adjourned to February 3. The case concerns an alleged conspiracy by Dileep and six others to kill police officials who investigated the actor assault case of Kerala. Dileep is an accused and alleged mastermind of the actor assault crime of 2017.
On Tuesday, February 1, Dileep's counsel Raman Pillai asked the court for the handover of phones to the jurisdictional magistrate when Justice Gopinath J said that he will let the prosecution have the phones. After listening to Pillai's plea, the judge agreed to transfer the phones to the Magistrate. This means that the phones will be in judicial custody and not the custody of the police.
However, the judge remarked that there is already an "impression that the accused is getting special protection from the court like no one else." The police, investigating the case, have been requesting physical access to the phones for the past few days.
When the Director General of Prosecution (DGP) TA Shaji told the court that there are more phones in connection with the case that the police would like to get access to, the judge said, "You cannot get whatever you want as per law...This order has generated a lot of talks already..."
Read: Accused dictating terms unheard of: Police during Dileep conspiracy case bail hearing
DGP Shaji told the court that Dileep and the other accused in the case were not fully cooperating with the investigation. He also raised the point about the phones, all of which had not been surrendered, even after a court order. One of the phones had not been surrendered. TA Shaji said that more than 12,000 calls were made on the missing phone. "How can they deny its existence now?" he asked. When the judge asked how many phones were not surrendered, the DGP said there were three.
Dileep's counsel had earlier claimed that he was not in possession of one of the phones asked for by the police. He had an Apple phone which earlier stopped working and which was no longer with him, the actor said. Another phone was also taken from his house by the police after a search conducted on January 13 this year, Dileep said.
A week ago, Dileep and the other accused were questioned for three days after a court order permitted it. The court however had not allowed arrest of the accused until the next hearing of the anticipatory bail plea. The arrest was disallowed on condition that the accused cooperate fully with the investigation. However, Dileep had at first refused to give up the phones asked for by the police.
The police found that the phones that the accused handed over during the investigation were freshly purchased this year â€” right when the new FIR was filed â€” and sought the phones used earlier. When Dileep refused, the police moved the court, urging the judge not to accept the actorâ€™s bail plea, given that the accused were not fully cooperating. Dileep then claimed that the phones were sent to forensic experts in Mumbai in connection with another case. The judge, after two hearings, asked the accused to surrender the phones by Monday, January 31.
Also read: Why police want custody of Dileep's phones: The data he can and can't delete