Dileep says clearing his WhatsApp chats normal, not evidence tampering

Dileep also contended that no tampering of any of the phones submitted has been detected by the Forensic Science Laboratory in Mumbai.
Dileep alleges false claims against him by Crime Branch
Dileep alleges false claims against him by Crime Branch
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Actor Dileep has contended in the Kerala High Court that the Crime Branch has leveled false and fabricated allegations of destruction of evidence against him and others, as well as their lawyers. Dileep and others were accused of conspiring to kill and threaten police officials probing the 2017 actor assault case. He claimed that the extraction, restoration or deletion of data from a phone by its user was neither clandestine nor illegal and regarding the clearing of 12 WhatsApp messages from his phone, the actor contended that the same is a regular process adopted by many users of the messaging platform.

"The dishonest nature of the investigation, which has become the trademark of the respondents 2,3 and 5 (police officials), is evident from the stories planted by them in the media about the phones of the accused. The allegation that the petitioner (Dileep) and other accused removed and concealed their mobile phones within a few days of disclosure of offences by Balachandra Kumar is an incorrect and misleading statement," the actor said in his reply to a submission by the Crime Branch regarding the alleged conspiracy to kill the officers probing the 2017 actor assault case.

Dileep said that the mobile phones were sent to a mobile forensic expert to extract data from them regarding communications with director Balachandrakumar, to confront him on whether he was made a prosecution witness and the decision to do so was taken much before the fresh case was registered.

Dileep also contended that no tampering of any of the phones or shredding of any data from the phones has been detected by the Forensic Science Laboratory in Mumbai, contrary to what he called “vague and false claims” by the Crime Branch. He further claimed that the allegation of Crime Branch that the actor's lawyers assisted in destruction of prosecution evidence was fanciful, preposterous and baseless.

"Such an allegation has been recklessly and irresponsibly fabricated so as to scandalise them," Dileep claimed.

Dileep also claimed that the agency and its officers investigating into the latest case against him were “peddling lies after lies”. The statement of the Crime Branch was filed in response to Dileep's plea seeking to either quash the FIR on the alleged murder conspiracy or transfer the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Denying the allegations in the statement, the actor contended that “baseless accusations” have been fabricated by the investigating agency with regard to the phones submitted by him and others, including his brother and brother-in-law, for forensic analysis. In his reply, filed through advocates Philip T Varghese and Thomas T Varghese, Dileep said the purpose of the forensic examination of the phones presently and recently used by the accused was not to find out material regarding the 2017 case, but to conduct a roving enquiry into the data contained in them for making allegations.

Meanwhile, the survivor had lodged a complaint with the Bar Council of Kerala against senior advocate B Raman Pillai and the other lawyers who represent Dileep and the other accused, seeking an enquiry into whether they were involved in influencing witnesses and tampering with evidence in the case.

The actor claimed that she has come to know from news reports, as well as various other sources, that Dileep's lawyers were not assisting the court in the matter, as they are required to, and instead were acting contrary to the rules of the legal profession. She urged the Bar Council of Kerala to take appropriate action in the matter.

On March 8, the Crime Branch filed a statement alleging that Dileep's plea to quash the FIR was a bundle of lies and distorted facts. The agency claimed that the actor and the other accused as well as their lawyers were involved in tampering or destruction of the evidence in the case.

The actor and five others were booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including sections 116 (abetment), 118 (concealing design to commit offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 (criminal act done by several people).

The survivor was abducted and allegedly molested in her car in 2017 and later escaped in a busy area. The entire act was filmed by those persons to blackmail the actress. There are 10 accused in the 2017 case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.

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