Here is why prosecution has sought more time to probe Dileep case
The embarrassing findings of the investigation in the actor-abduction and sexual assault case involving Malayalam film actor Dileep have taken several twists and turns, prompting the prosecution to seek more time to conclude its investigation.
The probe team has submitted an application with the Kerala High Court, seeking an extension in the investigation by three more months. On the other hand, the prosecution has also approached the trial court to cancel Dileep’s bail, the actor and the 8th accused in the abduction and rape case. The audio clips and other files found to have been deleted from the phones belonging to Dileep, his brother Anoop and brother-in-law Suraj, strengthen the prosecution’s charge that Dileep was involved in the conspiracy to abduct and rape the popular South Indian actor, who recently declared her comeback to the Malayalam film industry.
A petition submitted in the Kerala High Court, under section 482 of the CrPC, puts up the following findings, unearthed recently by the investigation team. Besides, the forensic examination of the mobile phones recovered from Dileep revealed several relevant facts that corroborate the prosecution’s case.
Here are some of the recent findings:
- It was found that the data contained in the phones used by Dileep was irrecoverably deleted on January 29 and 30, the days after the High Court told Dileep to surrender his phones. Dileep’s lawyers objected to the prosecution’s demand to seize the mobile phones. The court took a week for argument in January and finally asked Dileep to surrender the phones on January 3, 2022.
Dileep’s lawyer argued that their client had sent the phones to Mumbai for ‘forensic examination’ of his own as he does not trust such scientific examinations being done by the prosecution. The prosecution finally seized the six mobile phones, surrendered after stiff resistance, and sent them to the Government Forensic Laboratory at Thiruvananthapuram. They found that a lot of vital data had been shredded.
2. It was found that four lawyers, assisting Dileep’s lawyer Advocate Raman Pillai, had travelled to Mumbai on January 30 and “aided” the technicians at Lab Systems India Private Ltd in deleting the data from Dileep’s phones and transferring it to a hard disc. The investigating team then recovered this disc from this Mumbai lab.
It was also found that the lawyers returned to Kerala the same day evening and the phones were surrendered in the court the next day, i.e. on January 31. The investigation team said they needed time to interrogate the lawyers as well.
3. The photographs of some confidential court documents, written and signed by the trial judge, were also recovered from Dileep’s phones. Based on this evidence, the prosecution has submitted a request to the trial court seeking permission to interrogate the concerned court staff to find out how Dileep got unauthorised access to such confidential documents, even those written and signed by the trial judge.
The prosecution also sought permission and time to interrogate the custodial of the court documents as well as other related staffers of the court. The trial court has not yet granted the permission, but asked the prosecution to submit ‘the reasons for questioning them’.
4. The forensic examination and analysis of digital evidence also reveal that the memory card containing visuals of sexual assault on the victim of this crime, which was in the custody of the court, was accessed by some unknown person/s and its hash value has been changed during the custody of Court. According to the petition submitted by the prosecution in the High Court, the investigation team has got credible information that the memory card which contains the visuals of sexual assault committed on the victim was also accessed on several dates while in the custody of court’.
A forwarding note was prepared and submitted before the trial court to conduct the forensic examination of the file properties of all the files in the memory card to find out the dates of access of the memory card. (The trial court has not yet processed this note, as per sources within the investigation team).
5. The prosecution has sought the session’s court permission to investigate further into the digital evidence and to interrogate the court staff who was the custodian of the memory card. This permission has been granted and the prosecution seeks more time for going deeper into all these aspects.
6. Several voice records of phone conversations between Dileep, Anoop (Dileep’s brother) and Suraj were also recovered and the prosecution needs time to analyse all the records. Some of the conversations between Anoop and Suraj also throw light on the suspected involvement of Kavya Madhavan, the wife of Dileep, on which the prosecution requires more time to investigate. Kavya Madhavan, who was summoned by the investigating team, refused to appear at the police station, but informed that she would cooperate if the cops could interrogate her at her home. Anoop and Suraj were also summoned for another round of interrogation, but both of them failed to turn up.