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Actor sexual assault case: HC allows prosecution plea to examine additional witnesses

Actor Dileep

The Kerala High Court granted the state government’s request for the re-examination of three witnesses and permission to summon five additional witnesses in the actor abduction and assault case on Monday, January 17.

The news: The prosecution in the case, in which actor Dileep is the eighth defendant and is accused of masterminding the crime, had petitioned the High Court to overturn a trial court judgment that had denied its request.

What’s happening: Justice Kauser Edappagath of the Kerala High Court allowed three prosecution witnesses — PW 43 Vasudevan, PW 69 Anto Joseph, and PW 73 Rasheed alias Manu — to be re-examined, overturning a trial court judgment that had dismissed a similar appeal by the prosecution.

  • The exercise of attaching further evidence should be completed in ten days, according to the High Court. In addition, the High Court ordered the Director-General of Prosecutions to appoint a new Special Public Prosecutor in the case. After a year of representing the survivor, Special Public Prosecutor VN Anilkumar withdrew from the case in December 2021. He was the case’s second public prosecutor to quit.
  • The prosecution had previously asked the trial court hearing the actor assault case for permission to question 16 witnesses, nine of whom were new witnesses and seven of whom had previously been questioned. In the trial court, actor Dileep, who has been accused of paying money to a man named Pulsar Suni for contracting the actor’s sexual assault and videotaping it, had objected to the petition.
  • While trial court judge Honey Verghese allowed three witnesses to be re-examined, she rejected permission to 13 others, claiming that these witnesses had already been examined and that there was no need to do so again. She also refused the prosecution’s request to call four witnesses whose phone numbers were used by the accused. The prosecution wanted to know how the mobile phones registered in their names ended up in the hands of the defendants.
  • The prosecution in the case went to the High Court after the trial court denied its motion.
  • The prosecution had requested original customer applications for 25 mobile numbers, including Dileep’s, as well as valid certificates for call detail data for eight numbers, including Dileep’s, in compliance with Section 65(B) of the Evidence Act. The petition claims that the previous certifications “did not supply the whole details,” and that new certificates are needed.
  • The prosecution also argued that the lower court was incorrect in claiming that the application for the call records and original customer information was filed late. The prosecution has challenged the lower court’s decision to deny the application to recall some of the witnesses and allow only three to be summoned, claiming that it was “illegal and unlawful” and would “prejudice in reaching a proper verdict in the case.”

In addition: Meanwhile, on Tuesday, January 18, the High Court will hear Dileep’s anticipatory bail application, which he submitted after the Kerala police filed a new case against him. The case was registered on January 9 when an investigating officer filed a complaint based on a claimed audiotape of Dileep, which was recently published by a TV channel, in which the actor was purportedly heard scheming to harm the official. P Sivakumar, Dileep’s younger brother, and TN Suraj, Dileep’s brother-in-law, have also petitioned the High Court for the same relief.

  • Sections 116 (abetment), 118 (concealing design to commit offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 of the Indian Penal Code were used to charge the actor and five others (criminal act done by several people).
  • The three defendants filed an united plea alleging that the officer’s allegation against them, Deputy Superintendent (Crime Branch) Baiju Paulose, was fake. They claim that the claims in the FIR filed in response to the complaint are completely false.

On the night of February 17, 2017, the survivor actor, who has appeared in Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam films, was kidnapped and allegedly sexually raped in her automobile for two hours by several of the accused, who forced their way into the vehicle and then escaped in a crowded area. Some of the accused filmed the entire act in order to blackmail the actor. There are ten people charged in the case, and police detained seven of them at first. Following that, Dileep was arrested and eventually released on bail.

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