Kerala survivor actor writes to SC & CM, concerned that visuals of sexual attack are leaked
As cases revolving around the abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor in Kerala are going on at the High Court, the survivor wrote to the Supreme Court, Prime Minister, President, Kerala High Court and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, concerned about certain new revelations about the visuals of the attack. In February 2017, when the assault happened, the attackers — a gang of men — had taped the crime on video. Visuals were recovered from the first accused in the case, Pulsar Suni, and submitted before the court in a sealed cover. The survivor in her letter has said that news reports suggesting that the visuals were accessed by someone at the Principal and Sessions Court of Ernakulam are alarming and has asked for an investigation.
The visuals which were in a phone memory card were handed over by Pulsar Suni to a lawyer named EC Poulose on February 18, a day after the crime. The lawyer then gave the memory card and other materials given by Pulsar Suni to the Aluva magistrate court on February 20. The Aluva magistrate court informed the police who then sent it to the forensic lab in Thiruvananthapuram on February 27. After forensic tests, the memory card and a pen drive to which these visuals were copied (as the memory card was sealed to stop tampering) were sent to the Angamaly Magistrate court on March 3; this court was hearing the case at that point in time. The visuals were in the Angamaly court till December 15. On December 15, Dileep and his lawyer were shown the visuals in the Magistrate's chamber.
In March 2018, the pen drive and the sealed memory card were sent to the Principal and Sessions Court of Ernakulam. From March 15, 2018 to March 16, 2019, these visuals were at this District court in Ernakulam. According to a media report, in this period, the memory card was accessed once.
In her letter, the survivor has also mentioned recent revelations by a director, named Balachandra Kumar, who alleged that the visuals were viewed by accused actor Dileep — who is accused of being the mastermind behind the sexual assault — at his house. There are also allegations that some people abroad have accessed the visuals. The survivor wrote about her concerns regarding this blatant violation of her privacy and wondering how visuals which were supposedly in a sealed packet with the court could have been accessed by someone else.
Balachandra Kumar's revelations in November last year brought fresh attention to the case, the trial for which was nearing completion at a sessions court in Kochi. It also gave rise to a new case against Dileep, regarding an alleged conspiracy to kill police officials who were investigating the assault case. As soon as the new FIR got filed, Dileep approached the court for an anticipatory bail, the hearing of which has been going on for many days. The police moved court for access to phones used by Dileep and other accused in the case for investigation. The accused, who had got new phones this year, had refused to surrender phones used previously by them. After a few court hearings, it was ordered that the phones be taken to a forensic lab in Thiruvananthapuram.
The actor was sexually assaulted five years ago and the trial in the case, after several delays, began in November 2019. The survivor actor, who had stayed away from the limelight, posted a note on her social media page earlier this year, about her journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor. A number of actors and other artistes in the film industry offered support to the actor that day.
Watch: Why do we relentlessly cover Dileep case