Actor-survivor in 2017 assault case meets Chief Minister to speed up probe

Bill to curb organised crime: Why Pinarayi's office denied the existence of file
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: The survivor in the 2017 actor assault case met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday to request his involvement in speeding up the proceedings of the case.

The actor was accompanied by dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi for the meeting at the CM's office at 10am. The chief minister assured the actor-survivor of his assistance during the meeting that lasted 10 minutes.

The CM enquired about the details of the case to the DGP and the Crime Branch head. It has been reported that the survivor intimated the chief minister about the meeting held between a prominent LDF leader, Dileep and his lawyer, and the move to derail the investigation.

After the meeting, the survivor told reporters that the Chief Minister had assured her that the government would stand by her. "I fully believe in his words," the survivor said.

"I told him all my apprehensions about the case. His response was positive and heartening. I also informed him about what transpired inside the court. He assured me of all help. I am happy and satisfied with the assurance the Chief Minister had given me," the survivor said. She said she had felt this was the most opportune moment to meet the Chief Minister.

Her visit comes two days after she filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking to restrain the Crime Branch from quickly submitting its final report in the case related to the conspiracy behind the attack on her. The survivor wanted the final report to be kept in abeyance till the Forensic Science Laboratory examined the memory card kept in the custody of the trial court. The memory card is said to contain crucial evidence of the conspiracy.

In her writ petition she had also said that actor Dileep, one of the accused in the case, was trying to use ruling party leaders to scuttle the probe.

Top CPM leaders, including state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, had imputed political motives behind the survivor's move to approach the High Court. Kodiyeri said there was something suspicious about the timing of the writ petition, hinting that it was to help the UDF on the eve of the Thrikkakara by-election. LDF convener E P Jayarajan, too, felt that the survivor was prodded by vested interests. Transport minister Antony Raju also said that the survivor was used as a tool by certain political forces to secure an edge in the bypoll.

The survivor dismissed such charges. "These political motives attributed to the case are false. I cannot shut the mouths of people who keep saying such things. They don't know the struggle I have gone through. I want the truth to come out," she said.

The Kerala High Court was told on Wednesday by the state that the 2017 actor assault case survivor's fears regarding the investigation and trial in the matter were unfounded as the government's stand from the start has been to ensure she gets justice.

The submission was made by the prosecution before Justice Ziyad Rahman A A during the hearing of a plea moved by the survivor alleging political interference by the LDF government and claiming that there was a move to derail the probe in the case in which actor Dileep is also an accused.

During the hearing, the survivor's lawyers alleged that investigation in the case was not happening.

To this, the court said a call would be taken on the next date of hearing on whether it was necessary to call for a report from the trial court regarding the investigation.

The high court, however, declined the oral request of the prosecution to extend the time limit given till May 30 to complete the probe, saying that the deadline was fixed by another judge and the investigating agency should approach that bench if it needs more time.

It also said that actor Dileep has not been made a party in the matter and pointed out that his rights would also be affected by the outcome of these proceedings.

The high court directed the state to file a statement dealing with the allegations of the survivor in her plea.

The state also said that the even the special public prosecutor (SPP) was appointed in the case by keeping in mind the best interests of the survivor.

The high court, thereafter, said it will hear the matter next on Friday.

The high court had on April 19 extended till May 30 the time for completing the probe in the case.

In her plea, the survivor has also raised serious allegations against the trial court saying the presiding officer has some "vested interest to save the culprits".

The plea came a day after the Crime Branch has reportedly decided to wind up the investigation into a related case of an alleged tampering of digital evidence.

The petition also alleges that Dileep has unlawfully influenced some of the politicians of the ruling front in the state and attempted to interfere with the further investigation in the case and prematurely close the same.

Raising allegations against the trial court, the petition has said it was clear from the records that the "illegal access/ tampering was done" while one of the digital evidence was in judicial custody.

The petition has said even though the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) authorities had submitted a report to the court, the judge kept the same without making any entries in the court records.

The actor-survivor, 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 actor.

There are 10 accused in the 2017 case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail. 

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