The Kerala High Court has listed the hearing to June 1 on a petition, filed by the survivor of the 2017 actress assault incident, alleging that the state government was subverting the further investigation into the case.
Justice A A Ziyad Rahman listed the matter for next week after the Director General of Prosecutions T.A. Shaji sought time to file the government's statement. In her petition, the survivor-actress alleged that the government had allowed a fair and free probe in the initial phase, but is backtracking after making political gains.
There were allegations that the lawyers of actor Dileep, an accused in the case, had influenced the witnesses. But the probe team is unwilling to question them, the petition alleged. The actress had also alleged that there was political pressure to wind up the further investigation halfway and submit the report. Allegations were also raised that the visuals in the memory card, which is in the custody of the court, were leaked. The petition had also stated that the trial court did not take any action over the plea to send the memory card for forensic examination to probe this. But the trial court stated on Thursday that this plea had been rejected on May 9.
When the petition was considered earlier, the government had also demanded that a report should be sought from the trial court. But the HC replied that this would be looked into, if need be, after getting the government's response.
Govt seeks 3 more months
Meanwhile, the state government has filed a petition in the High Court, seeking three more months for the further investigation into the actress assault case. The petition pointed out that forensic evidence has to be collected and the statements of more witnesses would have to be recorded.
The deadline set by the High Court to complete the further probe is May 31.
Court rejects plea, but prosecution unaware
The trial court on Thursday informed the prosecution that it had rejected the plea by the Crime Branch to subject the memory card to forensic examination again. The prosecution said it was unaware of this, and the trial court said the plea was rejected on May 9.
Though the probe team had gone to the trial court on May 13 and 19 in connection with the case, it had not seen the order rejecting the plea. But the court had sent the order to the Nedumbassery police, where the case was registered, via post on May 17. The police have started a parallel probe to find out under what circumstances this order of May 9 went unnoticed by the prosecution and the probe team, which had gone directly to the court twice after this date.
Confidential statements recorded
The probe team has recorded the confidential statements of Sagar Vincent, a prosecution witness who turned hostile during the trial of the 2017 actress assault case. Alappuzha native Sagar was a former employee at the 'Lakshya' boutique, run by Dileep's wife Kavya Madhavan and kin.
Sagar had initially given a statement to the probe team that the prime accused N.S. Sunil Kumar (aka Pulsar Suni) had come to Lakshya along with an accomplice, while he had been absconding after the actress assault incident. But during the witness examination amid the trial, Sagar turned hostile and changed his statement in favour of the defence.
The police later obtained telephone conversations, which indicated that Vincent changed his statements after the defence lawyer gave him money. Subsequently, the probe team gave in a request to record the statements of Sagar Vincent before the magistrate court.