Kochi

Kerala HC asks Dileep, others to appear for interrogation

Actor Dileep. File

Actor Dileep. File

The Kerala High Court on Saturday directed actor Dileep and four others, including his kin to report before the investigation officer for interrogation on January 23, 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the case relating to hatching a conspiracy to finish off the investigation officers in the actor sexual assault case.

Justice Gopinath P., however, restrained the police from arresting them till January 27. The court passed the interim order on the anticipatory bail plea filed by the petitioners

The court also directed the actor and others to cooperate with the investigation. Any attempt to interfere with the probe would be viewed seriously and lead to the cancellation of the interim order of protection against the arrest, it said.

The court directed the police to place a report, regarding the interrogation and any other material evidence collected, before the court in a sealed cover on January 27.

Besides Dileep, his younger brother P. Sivakumar and brother-in-law T.N. Suraj had moved the court seeking the same relief.

The court observed that certain material, handed over to it in a sealed cover by the prosecutor during the hearing on the bail petitions, suggested that an in-depth investigation was required into the case.

The court asked the counsel of Dileep and others to tell their clients that the court was very serious and “that any violation of conditions will be dealt with seriously”. “Don’t attempt anything unnecessarily and don’t even think about it,” the HC said.

The court also observed that the information received so far by the prosecution may not indicate the commission of offences as alleged. However, the allegations were very serious.

Opposing the bail pleas vehemently, T.A. Shaji, Director General of Prosecution, submitted that the Crime Branch had collected material that supported the allegation that actor Dileep and others had hatched a conspiracy to do away with the police officers. A thorough investigation and the custodial interrogation of the petitioners would enable the prosecution to get sufficient evidence to establish the offence of conspiracy. If the petitioner were granted bail, it would defeat the very purpose of the investigation as the accused were very much influential.

The accused were making every possible effort to influence the witnesses and change the course of investigation in the actor sexual assault case, Mr. Shaji said. A host of prosecution witnesses had turned hostile allegedly due to the actor's influence. When the accused was protected by anticipatory bail, it would be very difficult to conduct an investigation and prove its case against the accused, he contended.

Counsel for the petitioners contended that even if the allegations were taken into consideration, they did not make out any ingredients of any of the offences for criminal conspiracy. Therefore, the prosecution could not insist on custody of the petitioners.

The Crime Branch had, on January 9, registered the case on a complaint filed by an investigating officer based on a purported audio clip of Dileep, which was released by a TV channel in which the actor was allegedly heard conspiring to attack the official.

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

Dileep has claimed that this apprehension was borne out of the past conduct of the complainant officer who has been trying to falsely implicate him in the sexual assault case.

The actress who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films was abducted and allegedly molested in her car for two hours by some of the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area. The entire act was filmed by some of the accused to blackmail the actress.

There are 10 accused in the case and initially, police arrested seven people. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail later.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 7:07:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kerala-hc-asks-dileep-others-to-appear-for-interrogation/article38309173.ece