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Explained: New Allegations Against Dileep & Impact On Sexual Assault Case

What are the fresh allegations made against Dileep? How will this affect the case? Here's an explainer.

Updated
Gender
5 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>With just about a month left for the clock to turn 17 February 2022 – five years since the incident, the survivor is still fighting for justice.</p></div>
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(Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.)

In February 2017, a popular Malayalam actor was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car in Kerala's Kochi.

The trial was nearing completion in December 2021 when startling allegations against Dileep, a top Malayalam actor and prime accused in the case, surfaced, giving the investigation a fresh direction.

After five years since the incident, a new team under Additional Director General of Police Sreejith has been formed to investigate the case, which will also include Inspector General Crime Branch KP Philip.

Despite the many twists and turns – the high-profile names of Malayalam film industry involved, resignation of two public prosecutors, 38 witnesses turning hostile – this is a story of a survivor who has been fighting for justice.

So, what is the case about? And why are the fresh allegations, and the other new developments, in the case so crucial?

Explained: New Allegations Against Dileep & Impact On Sexual Assault Case

  1. 1. A Quick Recap

    The survivor, who is an actor by profession, was returning to Kochi after a shooting assignment when her vehicle was sidetracked. She was abducted by a gang of men, and bundled off in a closed van where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.

    The act was filmed by the perpetrators, who let her go after threatening to release the video if she went to the cops.

    The actor filed a complaint with the Kerala Police the very next day. She said that she knew at least one of the men, who became the first accused in the case – Pulsar Suni.

    A notorious history-sheeter, Suni was often hired to drive the cars of popular Malayalam actors. Suni, along with eight others were arrested, and the van in which the incident took place was seized.

    Expand
  2. 2. Dileep – The Accused No 8

    Six months into the investigation, the case took a massive turn when Dileep's name surfaced. Suni reportedly confessed to the cops that he was conspiring with Dileep – who had a personal motive and sought revenge from the survivor. He claimed that Dileep hired him to assault the actor and videotape it.

    Suni also revealed that the duo had attempted to assault the actor in Goa, in January 2017.

    On 20 July 2017, Dileep was arrested by the Special Investigation Team. He spent a total of 85 days in jail, while applying for bail repeatedly. Later, on 3 October, Dileep was granted bail, specifically on the condition that the actor does not influence any witnesses, in any manner.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Are the Fresh Allegations?

    In December 2021, Balachandrakumar, a man who claims to be a friend of accused Dileep, made fresh allegations.

    Balachandrakumar said that he was a filmmaker who was in talks with Dileep to produce a movie called Pickpocket.

    In his interview with The News Minute, he made the following allegations:

    • Dileep knew Pulsar Suni well and that Balachandrakumar met the latter at the actor's residence in 2016

    • That the actor had a copy of the sexual assault video

    • Dileep tried to influence a key witness Sagar Vincent

    These allegations are important due to the following reasons, as reported by The News Minute:

    • Dileep has maintained that he and Suni are merely 'acquaintances'

    • There is supposed to be only one copy of the sexual assault video – which Suni's lawyer handed over to the court

    • That a certain 'VIP' visited Dileep in 2017 and they all watched the assault visuals together

    • Sagar Vincent was one of the witnesses who turned hostile. He had claimed that he saw Suni in Dileep's wife Kavya Madavan's clothing store, after the attack.

    "I was supposed to go to Thiruvananthapuram that night. But Dileep wanted me to stay back as the discussions over our movie weren't over. Dileep then asked (as if to everyone), ‘Pulsar Suniyude kroorakrithyangal kaanano?' ('Does anyone want to watch the cruelties of 'Pulsar' Suni?') The VIP who brought the video clips said that the audio was initially not clear, and that he had given it to a famous studio house in Kochi and boosted it 20 times. I heard what the male voice and the female voice in the video said quite clearly," Balachandran told The News Minute.

    Now, amid reports that the Malayalam actor can be interrogated again, Dileep has sent a legal notice to State of Kerala (Prosecutor's office), DySp Baiju Poulose, Balachandrakumar, Nikesh Kumar and Reporter TV. He has alleged it was a conspiracy to tarnish him at a time when apparently 'the cross-examination has showed the case against him was fabricated'.

    It is to be noted here that several witnesses either turned hostile or changed their statement after Dileep walked out of jail on bail in 2017. The survivor's friend Bhama, actor and AMMA General Secretary Edavelu Babu, singer Rimi Tomy – who had been key witnesses.

    In January 2020, Dileep even obtained a gag order from the court against any media coverage in the case – making it difficult for media organisations to report on allegations against him.

    Expand
  4. 4. Where the Case Stood in 2021?

    Trial in the case began in November 2019. But was soon halted after the prosecution moved the Kerala High Court seeking a change in trial court judge. Not just the prosecution, but the survivor too, alleged bias on the judge's part.

    On 1 March 2021, the Supreme Court gave six more months as a "last opportunity" to complete the trial in the sexual assault case.

    The judge had sought extra time as the trial had been delayed due to litigation in the High Court. This was the second time such an extension was granted in the case.

    Expand
  5. 5. What Followed?

    On 30 December 2021, Special Public Prosecutor AV Anil Kumar resigned from he post. While he did not go public with the reasons for resignation, Manorama reported that it could be after repeated rejection of prosecution pleas by trial court.

    This comes after the prosecution sought stay on the trial after Balachandrakumar's allegations.

    The survivor broke her silence on 3 January 2022, when she wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

    In her letter, she asked CM Vijayan to look into the matter and appoint a capable SPP at the earliest.

    She expressed her anguish at the delay in the case, adding that the fate of the case is in jeopardy. Seeking justice, she asked for the allegations made by Balachandrakumar to be probed.

    Later, on 9 January, the survivor put out a statement on social media.

    "This has not been an easy journey. The journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor", she wrote.

    "For 5 years now, my name and my identity have been suppressed under the weight of the assault inflicted on me. Though I am not the one who has committed the crime, there have been many attempts to humiliate, silence and isolate me. But at such times I have had some who stepped forward to keep my voice alive. Now when I hear so many voices speak up for me I know that I am not alone in this fight for justice".
    Expand
  6. 6. What Happens Next

    The new investigation team under Sreejith will now start probing the case.

    According to The News Minute, Balachandrakumar has claimed that he has short audio clips of the conversations recorded at Dileep's house. The authenticity of this has to be established by the prosecution. Second, the team should also look to establish whether Dileep really had the visuals of the assault.

    The trial is likely to be extended for another six months as the state filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking more time to complete the case.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

A Quick Recap

The survivor, who is an actor by profession, was returning to Kochi after a shooting assignment when her vehicle was sidetracked. She was abducted by a gang of men, and bundled off in a closed van where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.

The act was filmed by the perpetrators, who let her go after threatening to release the video if she went to the cops.

The actor filed a complaint with the Kerala Police the very next day. She said that she knew at least one of the men, who became the first accused in the case – Pulsar Suni.

A notorious history-sheeter, Suni was often hired to drive the cars of popular Malayalam actors. Suni, along with eight others were arrested, and the van in which the incident took place was seized.

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Dileep – The Accused No 8

Six months into the investigation, the case took a massive turn when Dileep's name surfaced. Suni reportedly confessed to the cops that he was conspiring with Dileep – who had a personal motive and sought revenge from the survivor. He claimed that Dileep hired him to assault the actor and videotape it.

Suni also revealed that the duo had attempted to assault the actor in Goa, in January 2017.

On 20 July 2017, Dileep was arrested by the Special Investigation Team. He spent a total of 85 days in jail, while applying for bail repeatedly. Later, on 3 October, Dileep was granted bail, specifically on the condition that the actor does not influence any witnesses, in any manner.

What Are the Fresh Allegations?

In December 2021, Balachandrakumar, a man who claims to be a friend of accused Dileep, made fresh allegations.

Balachandrakumar said that he was a filmmaker who was in talks with Dileep to produce a movie called Pickpocket.

In his interview with The News Minute, he made the following allegations:

  • Dileep knew Pulsar Suni well and that Balachandrakumar met the latter at the actor's residence in 2016

  • That the actor had a copy of the sexual assault video

  • Dileep tried to influence a key witness Sagar Vincent

These allegations are important due to the following reasons, as reported by The News Minute:

  • Dileep has maintained that he and Suni are merely 'acquaintances'

  • There is supposed to be only one copy of the sexual assault video – which Suni's lawyer handed over to the court

  • That a certain 'VIP' visited Dileep in 2017 and they all watched the assault visuals together

  • Sagar Vincent was one of the witnesses who turned hostile. He had claimed that he saw Suni in Dileep's wife Kavya Madavan's clothing store, after the attack.

"I was supposed to go to Thiruvananthapuram that night. But Dileep wanted me to stay back as the discussions over our movie weren't over. Dileep then asked (as if to everyone), ‘Pulsar Suniyude kroorakrithyangal kaanano?' ('Does anyone want to watch the cruelties of 'Pulsar' Suni?') The VIP who brought the video clips said that the audio was initially not clear, and that he had given it to a famous studio house in Kochi and boosted it 20 times. I heard what the male voice and the female voice in the video said quite clearly," Balachandran told The News Minute.

Now, amid reports that the Malayalam actor can be interrogated again, Dileep has sent a legal notice to State of Kerala (Prosecutor's office), DySp Baiju Poulose, Balachandrakumar, Nikesh Kumar and Reporter TV. He has alleged it was a conspiracy to tarnish him at a time when apparently 'the cross-examination has showed the case against him was fabricated'.

It is to be noted here that several witnesses either turned hostile or changed their statement after Dileep walked out of jail on bail in 2017. The survivor's friend Bhama, actor and AMMA General Secretary Edavelu Babu, singer Rimi Tomy – who had been key witnesses.

In January 2020, Dileep even obtained a gag order from the court against any media coverage in the case – making it difficult for media organisations to report on allegations against him.

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Where the Case Stood in 2021?

Trial in the case began in November 2019. But was soon halted after the prosecution moved the Kerala High Court seeking a change in trial court judge. Not just the prosecution, but the survivor too, alleged bias on the judge's part.

On 1 March 2021, the Supreme Court gave six more months as a "last opportunity" to complete the trial in the sexual assault case.

The judge had sought extra time as the trial had been delayed due to litigation in the High Court. This was the second time such an extension was granted in the case.

What Followed?

On 30 December 2021, Special Public Prosecutor AV Anil Kumar resigned from he post. While he did not go public with the reasons for resignation, Manorama reported that it could be after repeated rejection of prosecution pleas by trial court.

This comes after the prosecution sought stay on the trial after Balachandrakumar's allegations.

The survivor broke her silence on 3 January 2022, when she wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

In her letter, she asked CM Vijayan to look into the matter and appoint a capable SPP at the earliest.

She expressed her anguish at the delay in the case, adding that the fate of the case is in jeopardy. Seeking justice, she asked for the allegations made by Balachandrakumar to be probed.

Later, on 9 January, the survivor put out a statement on social media.

"This has not been an easy journey. The journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor", she wrote.

"For 5 years now, my name and my identity have been suppressed under the weight of the assault inflicted on me. Though I am not the one who has committed the crime, there have been many attempts to humiliate, silence and isolate me. But at such times I have had some who stepped forward to keep my voice alive. Now when I hear so many voices speak up for me I know that I am not alone in this fight for justice".
ADVERTISEMENT

What Happens Next

The new investigation team under Sreejith will now start probing the case.

According to The News Minute, Balachandrakumar has claimed that he has short audio clips of the conversations recorded at Dileep's house. The authenticity of this has to be established by the prosecution. Second, the team should also look to establish whether Dileep really had the visuals of the assault.

The trial is likely to be extended for another six months as the state filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking more time to complete the case.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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