Kerala actor assault: Memory card accessed thrice, says new forensic report

The High Court allowed a request by the police to have a forensic analysis of the memory card after the sessions court of Judge Honey Varghese had earlier denied it.
Actor Dileep
Actor Dileep
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The memory card containing the visuals of an actor’s sexual assault in Kochi in 2017 has been accessed three times, says a new forensic report, submitted to the Crime Branch of Kerala. The last date of access is as recent as July 19, 2021, when the memory card was in the custody of the Ernakulam Additional Special Sessions court where the trial of the case is going on. Sources tell TNM that the memory card was accessed on a mobile phone on this date, when there was no trial at the court.

Notably, in November 2019, the Supreme Court, in connection with an appeal made by actor Dileep, the alleged mastermind of the attack, to view the visuals said that no devices which could copy or transfer the visuals should be allowed. Such actions may “subserve the ends of justice and also effectuate the right of accused to a fair trial”, the SC said. 

It was on July 5 that the High Court of Kerala allowed a request by the police to have a forensic analysis of the memory card, after the trial court judge Honey M Varghese had denied the request. Accordingly to an earlier report by the State Forensic Science Lab (FSL) in Thiruvananthapuram, the memory card was accessed twice in 2018, when it was in the custody of two different courts. 

The earlier forensic report said that the hash value of the device had changed, indicating that something within the card had changed. The hash value is an alpha numeric string of characters used to identify a digital file, and it will be unique for every file. If the hash value of a device has changed, it could either mean that the device was modified or was tampered with, or else that it was completeley replaced.

In this case, the memory card was accessed once on January 9, 2018 when it was at the Angamaly Magistrate court and another time on December 13, 2018 when it was at the Ernakulam Principal and Sessions court. 

The trial of the actor assault case has been going on in the Additional Special Sessions Court since December 2019. Judge Honey M Varghese of the trial court had denied a request by the police for further forensic analysis when the hash value of the card was found to have been changed.

The main accused in the case, Pulsar Suni, had submitted the visuals to an advocate after the attack on the actor in February 2017. The advocate had submitted the visuals to the Angamaly court. 

The abduction and sexual assault of a prominent woman actor took place in a moving car in Kochi, allegedly at the behest of another prominent actor Dileep, who has since been charged as the eighth accused in the case. The five year old case has been gaining new attention in recent months with fresh revelations, witnesses and a controversy involving former DGP of Prisons, Sreelekha, in favour of the accused actor. 

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