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Actress assault case: Special prosecutor resigns, trial likely to be delayed

The Kerala HC had on Friday declined to transfer the trial from the present court

dileep-court-pti (FILE) Dileep appears in court | PTI

The special prosecutor appearing for the survivor in the 2017 actress assault case in Kerala has resigned. A. Sureshan, who was appointed by the Kerala government to represent the actress who was sexually assaulted by a gang in Kochi, said on Monday that he has sent the resignation letter to the state home secretary.

The trial in the case was scheduled to resume in a special court in Kochi on Monday. With Sureshan resigning, the case has been posted for Thursday. The special prosecutor's resignation means that the trial will be delayed further.

Malayalam actor Dileep is among the accused in the sensational case. Sureshan was appointed the special public prosecutor based on the requests of the survivor and her family. Sureshan was the special public prosecutor for the 2011 Soumya murder case.

Sureshan had got death penalty for Govindachami, the convict in this case, though the Supreme Court later reduced it to a life term. While appointing Sureshan in the initial phase of the investigation into the actress assault case, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that it was to ensure a fair probe.

The Kerala High Court had on Friday declined to transfer the trial in the case from the present court. It rejected petitions led by the actress and the state government seeking to transfer the trial. Dismissing the pleas, the court said that unless the trial court and the prosecutor work in sync, it will result in either the guilty escaping from the clutches of law or the innocent being punished.

Justice V G Arun said he was sure that in the endeavour to reach the truth and render justice, the court, the special public prosecutor, and the defense lawyers will work in tandem, as is expected of them. Addressing the petitioner’s contention that the Special Judge was being biased, the court referred to the cases in which the Supreme Court denied judicial bias. In her plea, the actress had alleged she was aggrieved by the biased and hostile attitude of the trial court and that it sat like a mute spectator when she was being examined and harassed by the counsel for Dileep. She complained that it failed to restrict the number of lawyers for the accused present inside the court hall when she was being examined and failed to uphold the spirit of in-camera trial.

Endorsing the allegations levelled by the actress, the state government had sought the transfer of the case to another court. The actress, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was abducted and allegedly assaulted inside her car for two hours by 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 the accused in a bid to blackmail the actress

Seven people were arrested initially. Dileep was arrested subsequently was let out on bail later. He is one among the 10 accused in the case.

In April this year, the high court had allowed a petition by the actress seeking the appointment of a woman judge for conducting the trial and ordered CBI special court Judge- III Ernakulam to complete the in-camera trial expeditiously.


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