Actor Dileep
Actor Dileep

Dileep files another plea in HC, this time to cancel further probe in assault case

The police have been carrying out further investigations following filmmaker Balachandra Kumar’s revelations against Dileep in the actor assault case.

Actor Dileep has moved the Kerala High Court once again, this time to stop the further investigation that is being conducted by the police into the 2017 actor abduction and sexual assault case. Dileep is the eighth accused in the case, and following revelations by filmmaker Balachandra Kumar, the police probing the case had sought time to conduct more investigations into the case. 

Dileep, in his new plea filed on Wednesday, February 2, has said that a chargesheet in the actor assault case was filed in November 2017 and charges were framed in January 2020 — and so this new investigation against him is an attempt to “sabotage the trial” in the case. 

The fresh investigation is being conducted after Balachandra Kumar, who said he was Dileep’s friend, claimed that the accused actor was in possession of the clip that had visuals of the sexual assault, even before the actor and his lawyers watched it at the magistrate’s chamber in December 2017. Balachandra Kumar had also claimed that the audio in the original clip was enhanced for Dileep’s viewing.

After this, the Kerala police filed a fresh report before the court, saying that they would like six months' time to hold further investigations into these allegations. ​​The trial court gave the police time till March 1, 2022, to investigate further.

However, Dileep has said that the new investigation causes ‘prejudice to establish his defence,’ and his right to equality is being violated. He has added that this further investigation into the case, is ‘’malafide,” and an attempt to endlessly drag the proceedings. He has said that this will infringe his right to a fair and speedy trial. 

Dileep has also said that the police report was filed before the court on the date when the investigating officer was to depose in court, alleging that this shows that the request for further investigation is "nothing but a colourable exercise of power." Dileep has said that he has the right to a fair investigation and this fresh additional investigation against him is “a malafide and illegal investigation infringing his fundamental right to fair investigation.” 

He also cited a previous Supreme Court judgment to say that the police does not have “unfettered or uncannalised” power to carry out investigations “which can be used arbitrarily at any stage of the case.” He also said that the police need prior permission from the court to conduct further investigation, which was not done, so the new investigation is bad in law.

“The power to carry further investigation continues until the trial is said to commence. Once charge is framed and trial starts, the Police department has no power to conduct further investigation on its own,” he said. 

Dileep has sought directions from the Kerala High Court to halt this further investigation immediately and term the additional investigation conducted so far as 'illegal.'

What is ironic, however, is that while Dileep accuses the police of trying to delay the trial, over the years, Dileep himself has made several attempts to scuttle the probe and delay the trial in the case. Over the past five years, Dileep has approached various courts with various petitions — petitions to discharge himself, petitions to get visuals of the assault, petition to bar media reporting on the case, and many more. In fact, in 2018, just a year after the incident, the prosecution had submitted to the court a list of 11 instances when Dileep has tried to scuttle the trial in the case. 

In his petitions, Dileep has time and again targeted the survivor in the 2017 sexual assault case, by casting aspersions on her version of the sexual assault. Last month, the survivor wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking justice in the case, and expressing concern over the resignations of public prosecutors who have been representing her in the trial. Two special public prosecutors — VN Anilkumar and A Suresan — quit the case, alleging that CBI special court Judge Honey Verghese was biased in her approach to the case.

The News Minute