3 main reasons for which prosecution wants Malayalam star Dileep’s bail cancelled
There have been attempts to delete data from cell phones, to influence the trial judge, and to influence the witnesses, said prosecution
The Special Court in Kochi, which is trying Malayalam actor Dileep in the 2017 actress assault case, has asked the prosecution to produce fresh evidence in support of its plea to cancel bail for the actor. The court has given prosecution time to respond till May 26, the next date of hearing.
The prosecution has already submitted an elaborate argument note to the session’s court detailing the reasons for cancelling his bail. Dileep is currently out on bail.
Here are the three main reasons on the basis of which the prosecution wants Dileep’s bail cancelled.
- Deletion of data from cell phones
On January 29, 2022, the High Court of Kerala had instructed Dileep to surrender the six mobile phones possessed by him in two days. The phones thus produced were subjected to forensic examination and it was revealed that the bulk of the data from two phones was tampered with, with the help of one Sai Sankar, an aide of Dileep. Sankar had later surrendered to the police and confessed to his crime. The other four mobile phones, out of which two are required by the prosecution as evidence in the case, were sent to Lab Systems India, a private cyber forensic laboratory based in Mumbai.
It was found during the investigation that data had been extracted from those phones, too. The phones were allegedly carried by a team of defence lawyers who travelled in an early morning flight on January 30, for which the police collected CCTV visuals from the airport. The data deletion and tampering of evidence were allegedly done by technicians of the lab under the supervision of these lawyers. It was also found that one of the phones was connected to the WiFi network in the office of senior counsel Adv Raman Pillai.
The prosecution argued that the phones which were instructed to be surrendered by the High Court on the previous hearing were tampered with and the data deleted in connivance with Dileep’s lawyers. Sai Sankar, the hacker who allegedly helped Dileep to extract and delete the data, is an accused in four different cases of cybercrimes in Kerala.
2. Attempts to influence the trial judge
The data retrieved from one of the phones at the Forensic Science Laboratory at Thiruvananthapuram allegedly carries the recorded conversation between Dileep and his lawyer, in which both talk in detail about the visuals of the assault on the actress. The literal transcription of the conversation is attached in the argument note, which supposedly gives a clear indication that the accused and his aides were familiar with the visuals. They talk about how they tried to convince the judicial officer. A voice note retrieved from one of the mobile phones also gives indications of their attempt to influence the judge of the trial court.
In the voice note, an aide of Dileep allegedly explains to him how they could influence the judge and all that they have done so far to that effect. “The husband of the judge who is a circle inspector in the excise department is involved in a case of custodial torture and death. They contacted our (Adv) Santhosh; they don’t want to find themselves in any further trouble. This is a very favourable condition for us,” said the aide.
This voice note, according to the prosecution, is a clear indication of tampering of evidence and attempting to influence even the judge — a reason good enough to cancel Dileep’s bail.
3. Series of attempts to influence the witnesses
This is the second time the prosecution has moved an application for cancelling the bail granted to Dileep. The first application was filed in 2020, when the prosecution witnesses turned hostile one by one and it was allegedly found that many of them had done so because of the influence exercised by Dileep. Two FIRs were filed against Dileep for intimidating the witnesses. However, the trial court refused to accept the prosecution’s demand and let Dileep remain on bail.
Vipin Lal, who was a prison mate of Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni, the first accused in the actress assault case, helped Sunil to write a letter to Dileep. Later, Vipin Lal was allegedly threatened, forcing him not to give statement against Dileep. An FIR was lodged based on the complaint of Vipin Lal. The police have also collected the CDRs of Vipin Lal and the aides of Dileep who allegedly threatened him and forced him to turn hostile.
Another prosecution witness, Ginson Elias, also filed a complaint on the basis of which an FIR was lodged. According to the FIR, Ginson was contacted by one Abdul Nassar, an aide of Dileep, who forced him to change his statement for which he was allegeldy offered Rs 25 lakh and a piece of land.
Sagar Vincent, an employee of ‘Lakshya’ garment shop, run by Dileep’s wife Kavya Madhavan, is another prosecution witnesses who was allegedly threatened by Dileep and his aides for changing his statement. During interrogation, Sagar told the police that he had seen Pulsar Suni (first accused) and Vijeesh (fourth accused) at Lakshya to meet either Kavya Madhavan or Dileep, five days after the crime happened.
This statement, which could have been a crucial piece of evidence to connect Dileep and Pulsar Suni, was changed later when Sagar was summoned for giving a statement to the magistrate. In the investigation carried out later, it was allegedly found that an aide of Dileep had contacted (as per CDR) Sagar Vincent more than 10 times before the recording of his statement in front of the magistrate.
The prosecution’s case rests on the argument that Dileep is the mastermind of the crime of abducting and committing sexual assault on the actress. The actor allegedly used a ‘human weapon’ to commit rape, which is a heinous crime unheard of ever since the inception of the Indian Penal Code, stated the police.
Dileep was arrested on July 10, 2017 and was granted bail on October 3 the same year by the High Court under stringent conditions. It is stipulated in the bail order that he ‘shall not directly or through any agent try to influence, intimidate, threaten or coerce the victim or any of the prosecution witnesses, by any means’.
The High Court also said in its bail order that ‘he shall appear before the investigating officer as and when called for, co-operate with the investigation and shall not interfere in the investigation’. However, a series of complaints regarding the violations of bail conditions have been raised by the prosecution so far. Two FIRs were filed by the prosecution witnesses for being threatened by Dileep. Another FIR was filed against him for allegeldy conspiring and attempting to murder the investigating officers. Forensic evidence — supporting tampering of phones and deleting of the data — has already been given to the court.