Kochi: A former top Kerala cop allegedly took Rs 50 crore as bribe to save popular film actor Dileep in the 2017 actress assault case and a clique linked to him is reportedly trying to intervene in the probe.
Meanwhile, an additional chargesheet has been filed at the Angamaly court in the five-year-old case and actor Dileep's friend Sharath G Nair has been made an accused with the Crime Branch stating in the probe report that the latter is in possession of the visuals of the chilling crime.
The case has acquired a new dimension with bribe allegations. The bribe was reportedly paid to the then senior police officer to avoid the arrest of Dileep, but that bid failed and the actor was named the accused number 8 in the sensational case.
Dileep will remain as the accused number 8 as per the additional chargesheet filed on Monday. Sharath is the accused no: 5.
It is suspected now that the strong lobby led by the now retired police officer is still active in scuttling the probe in order to favour the accused. It is also alleged that the operations of this lobby led to the removal of IPS officer S Sreejith, who was supervising the investigation in the case, from the post of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Crime Branch.
Sreejith was transferred at a time when the probe team was getting ready to record the statement of the Alappuzha native who had said soon after Dileep's arrest that Rs 50 lakh was paid in vain. Among the incriminating digital evidence is a voice clip on this claim.
Meanwhile, at the first meeting convened by the new Crime Branch head, the probe team was given instructions to ensure that the incriminating information received in the course of the investigation against the advocates and the court should be kept as a closely guarded secret.
It was when the probe team decided to question an advocate, who constantly tampered with evidence and influenced witnesses in the case, the so-called lobby intensified moves to torpedo the investigation. Soon, the same advocate filed a complaint with the State Home Secretary against Sreejith and inquiry officer Baiju M Paulose. Within a week, Sreejith was transferred out of the Crime Branch.
The probe team was also given orders from the higher-up that no further plea for the extension of the probe should be made before the court. This forced the Crime Branch team to cobble together all the evidence collected so far and submit a supplementary chargesheet to the court after deciding not to condut any further probe.
There has been widespread criticism against the government for shifting Sreejith from the police force itself and appointing him as the Transport Commissioner at a time when the investigation in the sensational case has reached such a crucial stage. The petition filed by film director Baiju Kottarakkara against the transfer of Sreejith is pending before the High Court.
As reported earlier those who support the assaulted actress are seeking an inquiry into the alleged interference of former DGP (Law and Order) Lokanath Behera and DIG Sanjaykumar Gurudin in the case.