Objecting to the plea moved by Crime Branch of the Kerala Police seeking more time to complete further investigation, Malayalam actor Dileep filed a petition before the High Court.
Advocate Philip T Varghese, who represented the actor, alleged that the ongoing probe is a "sham investigation" designed to ensure that the verdict is delayed.
The Crime Branch on Saturday had sought time from the court to collect the cloned copy of the memory card which contains visuals of the assault and to interrogate R Sreelekha IPS, Kerala’s first woman IPS officer.
Crime Branch had requested three more weeks to conclude the investigation in this case. The single bench of Justice Kauser Edappagath directed the police to collect the required evidence from the forensic laboratory and submit it in a sealed cover to the trial court by Monday.
The case relates to a female actor who was sexually assaulted in a moving vehicle in February 2017 allegedly by a man named ‘Pulsar’ Suni. The assault was allegedly masterminded by the actor Dileep.
Dileep Accuses Police of Trying to Create 'a False and Fabricated Report'
In the objection filed by the actor, he accused the police of trying to access the memory card which was in the custody of the court to manufacture "a false and fabricated report." Dileep had alleged that granting more time would enable the investigating agency to manipulate the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to scandalise the court and also to delay the further investigation in the case.
The petition seeking extension of time had attached a copy of the report received from the FSL which disclosed compelling evidence that the memory card was accessed three times while it was in the custody of the trial court.
The memory card was sealed so as to protect it from any kind of illegal access or tampering. However, the report has revealed that it was accessed multiple times in 2018 when it was in the custody of two different courts.
The court had earlier provided time till 15 July for the investigation to be completed.
The Crime Branch has submitted to the court that a total of 138 witnesses have been recorded and 269 documents have been seized so far as part of the investigation.
‘Dileep Is Innocent,’ Claims Kerala’s First Woman IPS Officer
The police recently opened an investigation against Sreelekha, after she uploaded a video on her YouTube channel, on 10 July, and claimed that Dileep was innocent, and accused the police of acting under the pressure exerted by the media.
Since she was the former Deputy General of Police, Prisons of Kerala, the police argued that it was imperative that her claims be verified.
"It is submitted that R Sreelekha IPS, a former Director General of Police made some serious allegations against the findings of the investigation agency especially with respect to the accused 8, Dileep Gopalakrishnan on July 10, 2022 through her 'YouTube channel. She has specifically alleged that the accused in the case is innocent and falsely implicated,” said a petition filed in the trial court under section 482 of the CrPC on 13 July.
Sreelekha, in her video, had alleged that the investigation officials made a mistake about dragging Dileep into the case and were not willing to admit to it. She also alleged that the photographs seized by the investigation agency in which Dileep and Pulsar Suni are seen at the set of Malayalam film ‘Georgettante Pooram’ was morphed.
Her disclosure led to sharp reactions as many questioned her motive. Opposition Leader VD Satheesan said that her claims should be investigated into and she should make it clear why she, as a former police officer, did not reveal this all this while.
The survivor actress, on 23 May, had approached the Kerala High Court seeking its intervention in the case to ensure justice and alleged that a move is being made to subvert the case.
In her plea, she alleged, “It is an attempt to influence the politicians in the ruling alliance to end the case. Despite the evidence that accused actor Dileep’s lawyers were trying to influence witnesses, they were excluded from the investigation by the probe team. It was informed that a move was being made to end the case in a hurry. This raises the question of whether this will lead to denial of justice.”