In what appears to be another delaying tactic in the ongoing actor assault legal trial, Malayalam actor Dileep has now submitted a plea before the Supreme Court, asking for an adjournment of one week in the case of his plea for a copy of the video of the sexual assault. The plea seeking an adjournment will be heard on Wednesday by Justice AM Khanwilkar. Dileep has claimed that his lawyer, Mukul Rohatgi, is indisposed.
Depending on what the SC decides on Wednesday, along with the fact that the government counsel in the assault case is unavailable till February 12, could delay the Malayalam actor assault case further. The case in question dates back to February of 2017 â€“ the actor was assaulted by a group of men on her way back from work. In the two years since, the trial has been delayed on multiple occasions for several reasons, including what are deliberate delay tactics by Dileep, who is accused of masterminding the sexual assault.
Dileep had moved the Supreme Court on December 1, 2018 requesting that all evidence materials in the actor assault case, including the video recording of the assault itself, be handed over to him. He had filed an earlier plea with the same demand in the Angamaly Magistrate Court, which was rejected on February 7, 2018. He then approached the Kerala High Court with the same plea, claiming that accessing the video would help him prove his innocence in the case in which he has been named as the mastermind in the chargesheet. The HC, too, turned down his petition on August 13, 2018, clearly stating that his persistent demand for the video was a delaying tactic to slow down the progress of the case in court.
His lawyer, Mukul Rohatgi, meanwhile, has pled before the SC that the object in the ongoing plea at SC, that is, the memory card on which the attack had been recorded, was a â€śdocumentâ€ť, and as such, was required to be handed over to Dileep under section 207 of the CrPC, which contains the laws outlining the â€śdocumentsâ€ť to be handed over to an accused in a legal case. He also pled that Dileep needs a physical copy of the recorded visuals to prove that they have been doctored.
The Kerala government, on the other hand, filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in this case, stating that actor Dileep must not be given a copy of the video that was taken of the assault of a female actor in February 2017. It cited concerns over the video recording being leaked, a fair trial being jeopardised, the fact that Dileep is not actually legally entitled to the video recording, and the survivorâ€™s own stated wishes and human rights in putting forth the argument that Dileep must not be given access to a physical copy of the video recording.
In the first week of January this year, the Supreme Court had asked Dileepâ€™s lawyers to reply to the Kerala governmentâ€™s petition, which hasnâ€™t been done so far.