In what is probably uncommon in the judicial system, a special public prosecutor has sought the transfer of an ongoing trial to another court, indicating lack of faith in the existing court. In a major development in the Kerala actor sexual assault and abduction case, the prosecution counsel appearing on behalf of the state for the survivor actor moved the CBI court in Kochi with a plea to change the ongoing trial from the special court in Kochi. In the plea, the prosecution stated that the trial court judge had made derogatory remarks against the special prosecutor and alleged that the conduct of the court is “highly biased, which is detrimental to the judicial system and to the entire prosecution”.
Filing the plea on Thursday, special public prosecutor A Suresan asked the Additional Sessions (CBI special No III) Court in Ernakulam district of Kerala to immediately stop the trial proceedings in the court so that it can move the High Court with a plea to transfer the trial of the actor sexual assault case to any other court.
The case is being considered by Judge Honey M Varghese, who was given in charge of the trial, based on the plea of the survivor actor, who had stated that the trial should be conducted in the court of a female judge. But now, the counsel of the survivor actor has itself approached a higher court, raising concerns over the trial in the case.
The case pertains to the abduction and sexual assault of a leading Malayalam female actor in February 2017. Malayalam actor Dileep is accused of having masterminded the crime and is the eighth accused in the case.
The high-profile case, which jolted Kerala, has a total of 355 witnesses, including many prominent figures in the Malayalam film industry. Witness examinations of over 80 persons have been completed so far. Prominent Malayalam actors like Edavela Babu, Bhaama and Bindhu Panicker, changed their original statements to the police during the trial.
In the plea, the prosecution further stated that the prosecution had been cooperating with trial proceedings despite knowing that there are moves to protract the trial of the case.
The prosecutor also added that the victim in this case “represents the Indian society at large, and any kinds of damage to the image and trust of the system existing in the minds of the public at large will do considerable harm to the entire judicial system”.
Earlier this year, Judge Honey had received a transfer order from the High Court but it was cancelled later as the trial proceedings in the actor assault case was not complete.