The trial proceedings in the Malayalam actor abduction and assault case began at the Principal Sessions Court in Ernakulam on Wednesday.
All the accused, barring two, appeared before the court by 11 am. The accused were issued a summons to appear before the court for the proceedings.
Malayalam actor Dileep, who is the eighth accused in the case, and accused no. 1 Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni were among those who appeared before court.
A smiling Dileep walked into the court a little after 10:45 am and stood inside the witness box along with the other accused.
Appearing for the survivor, advocate Manu sought for in-camera proceedings in the trial. In-camera proceedings are held before the judge in his/her private chambers.
Besides this, the survivor also requested for a speedy trial and for a woman judge to preside over the case.
The Kerala government had appointed public prosecutor, A Suresan, in the case. When Manu, an advocate moved a petition seeking to represent the survivor, the court questioned the need for a private lawyer and observed that he can only assist the public prosecutor in the case.
Speaking to TNM, advocate Manu clarified that it was well within the rights of the survivor to appoint a lawyer of her choice.
The court also asked Manu to file the petition through the public prosecutors and stated that the matter will be taken up on March 28.
Meanwhile, Dileepâ€™s counsel Raman Pillai argued that the prosecution had not handed over all the documents crucial to the case to them. However, when the prosecution refuted this claim, the court asked the defence what the pending documents to be handed over are. It also directed the prosecution to hand over the survivorâ€™s medical certificate, which has been withheld so far.
Observing that it is concerned with the protection of the identity of the survivor, the court said that it was up to the HC to decide whether to hand over visuals of the assault to accused Dileep.
The HC will take a decision on the matter on March 21, on a petition filed by Dileep.
Meanwhile, main accused Pulsar Suni's lawyer BA Aloor moved a bail application, which has been posted for consideration on March 16.
On Friday, Dileep had filed a revision petition, on his earlier petition at the HC to delay the trial proceedings, arguing that all the documents had not be given to him. He moved the HC after the Angamaly magistrate court in February, refused to entertain his plea and said that the assault visuals cannot be handed over to him. The court only granted the actor access to CCTV visuals of the survivor's car being driven from Thrissur to Kochi, which is when the crime took place.
On Monday, the Kerala High Court while hearing Dileepâ€™s revision petition said that the trial cannot be delayed but sought an explanation from the state government. The court posted the matter for March 21.
In February 2017, a Malayalam actor was abducted and allegedly sexually assaulted when she was traveling to Kochi from Thrissur in her car. The men also allegedly took pictures and videos of the crime. The actor was restrained inside the vehicle for more than two hours, after which she was dropped near a directorâ€™s house. She filed a complaint at the Nedumbassery police station with the help of the director.
The high-profile case shook the state, and in particular the Malayalam film industry after actor Dileep was arrested for his alleged involvement in the crime.