The Kerala High Court on Tuesday ordered for the trial proceedings in the 2017 actor assault case to be completed within the next 6 months. The court set aside the bail plea of accused number 2 - Martin - who was the survivorâ€™s driver, and ordered for the trial proceedings to be expedited. Actor Dileep has been named as one of the accused in the case.
However, it is unclear if the trial can begin now as actor Dileep's petition in the Supreme Court asking for a copy of the visuals of the assault is still pending. During the last two hearings, Dileep's lawyer had sought for an adjournment claiming that he was busy to attend the case.
The High Court had in February asked for the case to be disposed off within the next 9 months. The court also accepted the survivorâ€™s plea seeking that a woman judge should hear the case. Accepting the plea, Kerala High Court Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan announced in open court on February 25 that special CBI judge Honey M Varghese will be hearing the case. Stating that the petition filed by the survivor is legitimate, the Court observed that the law has a provision which allows a woman judge to hear her case.
The survivor had approached the High Court and asked that the case should have an in camera trial, a special court should be constituted and the woman judge preside over the case. The Kerala government too had submitted to the High Court that a special court be constituted and a woman judge preside over the case.
Opposing this, actor Dileepâ€™s counsel had appeared before the court to challenge the matter, stating that the case cannot be given special consideration as several such cases in the country which are being heard by male judges. Dileep's counsel further sought that the trial continue before the Principal Sessions Judge of Ernakulam, who is currently hearing the case. However, his argument was overruled.
In February 2017, a prominent Malayalam woman actor was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car when she was traveling from Thrissur to Kochi.
Dileep has been accused of masterminding the crime. The chargesheet filed by the police stated that Dileep held a grudge against the survivor and hired other people, including Sunil Kumar (also known as Pulsar Suni) - the prime accused in the case, to assault the actor, film the act and use it to blackmail her later. Dileep, an influential actor, has been accused of trying to delay the case as well.