The Kerala High Court on Friday, 3 June, granted the prosecution an extension till 15 July to complete its additional investigation into the 2017 sexual assault case, in which Malayalam film actor Dileep is the eighth accused.
Justice Kauser Edappagath allowed the Kerala Crime Branch’s plea seeking an extension in the deadline to complete further probe into the case.
After the prosecution had approached the High Court on 8 April seeking a deadline extension, the court granted one more month to wind up probe. The police had alleged that the submitted pendrive, containing three voice clips each, required further analysis.
The police claimed that the voice clips are necessary for proper adjudication of the case.
Memory Card With Visuals of Assault on Kerala Woman Actor Accessed Twice: Report
Meanwhile, a report by Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), based in Thiruvananthapuram, has revealed that the memory card containing visuals of the sexual assault was accessed twice without authorisation and was tampered with. The revelations prove right some of the doubts raised by the investigating officer in a petition filed before the trial court on 4 April 2022.
The memory card had eight video recordings, which were recorded on 17 February 2017 between 10.30 pm and 10.48 pm, on the night of the attack. During examination, it was found that hash value in 2019 was different from what was recorded in 2017. This means the file has either been modified, tampered with or that it has been completely replaced.
The FSL report, accessed by The Quint, showed that the memory card was accessed on 9 January 2018 when it was with the Angamaly magistrate court and on 13 December 2018 when it was with the Ernakulam principal and sessions court. It is important to note that on both these dates, the courts had not sanctioned permission for access.
However, there is no way to know who or when the card was accessed.
On 17 May, the Kerala Crime Branch arrested actor Dileep’s close friend and a hotel owner, Sarath G Nair, for allegedly destroying key evidence in the case. Just hours after the arrest, Nair was granted bail.
According to the police, Sharath handed over a tablet containing visuals of the assault to Dileep in 2017. The tablet, a key evidence material in the case, was allegedly destroyed by Sharath.
Dileep has been accused of masterminding the abduction and sexual assault of a fellow actor in 2017 and of conspiring to kill the investigating officers in the case.
Dileep is undergoing trial before the CBI Special Judge. There are ten accused in the abduction-assault case, seven of whom have been arrested.