In the latest development in the trial of the actor assault case, where a Malayalam actor was sexually assaulted in a moving car in February 2017, actor Edavela Babu did a volte-face and retracted his statement to the police on Thursday. Special Public Prosecutor A Suresan confirmed to TNM that the witness had turned hostile and was unwilling to comment further.
Prior to the incident in 2017, the survivor actor had approached the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), where she is a member, with a complaint against actor Dileep, who is also a member of AMMA and now the eighth accused in the case. She had complained that she was being denied acting opportunities because of her friendship with Dileepās former wife, actor Manju Warrier.
After Dileep was arrested in July 2017, Edavela Babu, who is the general secretary of AMMA, gave his statement to the police, acknowledging that the survivor had given the such a complaint. While AMMA was not part of the decision, Edavela said (in his statement) that he spoke to Dileep on the matter privately. Edavela Babu had also told the police that when such complaints arise in the association, the office-bearers intervene and resolve the matter among themselves. He had said that AMMA does not keep a record or document such complaints. He reportedly told Dileep ānot to interfere in unnecessary thingsā and that he considered the veracity of the survivorās complaint.
Edavela Babu had also reportedly told the police that Dileep and the survivor had an argument during the rehearsal of a stage show, at a five-star hotel in Kochi prior to the incident. They allegedly quarrelled about her interfering in his marriage life and over his relationship with actor Kavya Madhavan (now Dileepās wife). It is allegedly following this that the Dileep and āPulsarā Sunni, the prime accused in the case, made plans to attack the survivor.
Edavela has, however, changed this statement during the cross-examination of the trial on Thursday. Sources say that he told the court, "I don't remember" and "this is not what I meant."
This is not the first time that Edavela Babu has changed his statement. At a press conference in October 2018, Edavela and actor Siddique, who is the secretary of AMMA denied that such a complaint had been given in writing.
Siddique appeared for the trial on February 27. Manju Warrier, too, deposed before the court on the same day. It is also to be noted that Manju Warrier and Geethu Mohandas stuck to their versions and explained their side in detail to court.
Kavya Madhavan's mother Shyamala was the other witness who was cross-examined at the trial on Thursday. According to PrimeTime, Shyamala said that she was the one who informed Manju about the relationship between Dileep and Kavya.
A total of 38 witnesses have been examined as part of the trial. Actor Mukesh, who is also the Vice President of AMMA, submitted a leave application, stating his inability to appear in the court on Wednesday.