Actress assault case: Crime Branch backs survivor's plea for probe under HC supervision


Kochi: The Crime Branch has informed the Kerala High Court that it supported the plea of the survivor in the actress assault incident that the further investigation into the case should be continued under the supervision of the HC.

However, the Crime Branch said that the survivor-actress' allegations, that the case was being subverted due to actor Dileep's political influence, were false and that there has been no extraneous interference.

The original mobile phone, containing the visuals, is yet to be recovered. During the further probe, the visuals were found from the phone of Anoop, who is Dileep’s brother. While stating that Dileep could be in possession of the original phone or the copy of the visuals in the memory card, the Crime Branch said that this has to be probed.

The government submitted the reply to a petition filed by the actress, alleging that the further probe was being subverted.  Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas posted the case to June 10.

Report on memory card

The prosecution also handed over to the court the Forensic Science Laboratory director's report, which confirms that the memory card had been accessed twice while it was under the court's custody. The memory card had been accessed on January 9 and December 13, 2018. The report pointed out the change in hash value, which indicates the memory card had been illegally accessed, but the hash value of the video recordings were found to be the same.

What the Crime Branch informed the HC

On the allegations about the accused getting the visuals, the Crime Branch explained that Dileep, Sarath, Anoop and Suraj were questioned. But no information could be gathered due to their non-cooperation. The examination of the digital evidence is continuing. Efforts are being made to ascertain the possibility of the visuals being illegally accessed and leaked.

The change in the hash value was noticed when the memory card was examined at the Thiruvananthapuram forensic lab for the second time to take the clone copy.

The lab director had sent the report on this to the trial court on January 29, 2020. But until February 2022, the court did not bring it to the attention of the prosecution nor include it in case records. The information was revealed when the statements of the forensic lab joint director were recorded during the further investigation.

The  trial court dismissed a plea to send the memory card for forensic analysis to find out how many times it had been accessed. But instead of informing the prosecution directly, the order was sent by post and received by the police only on May 26. The Crime Branch said that it was strange that the plea was dismissed  and a petition would be filed against this.

The prosecution also denied the actress' allegations that the trial court did not grant permission to question court staff. But this has to be done only after detailed examination of the memory card, and that too only if required.

The prosecution asserted that it has been taking all legal steps right from the beginning of the case. The efforts are being continued, it added.

Dileep took money from producer?

The probe team is also closely looking into a statement that claimed Dileep and wife Kavya Madhavan had gone to a film producer's flat in Ernakulam and took Rs 10 lakh in currency notes. This alleged incident happened when the trial proceedings in the actress assault case had begun. 

The probe team had earlier obtained evidence of the defence lawyers allegedly influencing Alappuzha native Sagar Vincent, who was an employee at the boutique of Kavya Madhavan when the crime happened. The probe team suspects that this money was taken from the producer to be given to witnesses, including Sagar Vincent.

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