The Kerala High Court on Thursday posed some critical questions to the prosecution while hearing actor Dileep's plea to quash the FIR accusing him and others of conspiring to kill and threaten officers probing the 2017 actress assault or transfer the case to CBI.
Why didn't Dileep's former friend Balachandra Kumar raise the complaint against the actor earlier if he was in possession of evidence against him, the high court asked the prosecution.
The high court expressed doubts over the delay in Balachandra Kumar handing over the recording of a conversation involving Dileep. Balachandra Kumar handed over the audio clips, recorded in 2017, to the police only in 2021. The queries were put to the investigating agency by Justice Ziyad Rahman A A.
In reply the prosecution told the court that such doubts were not relevant while considering the plea to quash the FIR. The court only has to find out if the evidence proved a crime. The prosecution claimed that Dileep had a longterm relationship with Balachandra Kumar. The prosecution also pointed out that evidence were deleted from Dileep's phone.
On Wednesday, the high court had asked the the Crime Branch if mere utterances by a person could be treated as conspiracy.
"There is only reference to utterances in the first information statement. Can mere utterances be treated as conspiracy? Can the inference of conspiracy be made merely from the utterances," were the queries raised by the high court. The court also asked what was the indication that a decision or agreement was arrived at to harm the officials probing the 2017 case.
The court also observed that director Balachandra Kumar, based on whose revelations the FIR under challenge was registered, appeared to have witnessed some utterances which he perceived to be a conspiracy.
Dileep's lawyers on Tuesday had argued that there was absence of any material in the murder conspiracy FIR to indicate commission of any of the offences attributed to the accused and the entire case was based on something allegedly "wished" by him.
He also claimed before the high court that offences in the latest FIR were non- cognizable and therefore, it could not have been registered without prior permission from a magistrate.
The actor and five others were booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including Sections 116 (abetment), 118 (concealing design to commit offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 (criminal act done by several people) and later section 302 was also added to it for allegedly conspiring to murder the officials probing the 2017 actress assault case.
The actress-victim, who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films, was abducted and allegedly molested in her car for two hours by some persons 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 those persons to blackmail the actress.
There are 10 accused in the 2017 case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.