Actress abduction case: Kerala HC rejects plea for transfer of trial against actor Dileep

South India

The Malayalam film actress, who was allegedly abducted in 2017, had approached the court alleging bias on the part of the trial court headed by a woman judge.

The Kerala High Court on Friday, November 20, rejected the plea by the prosecution and the victim in the actress abduction and assault case to shift trial from the special court that was set up under a woman judge to another court.

The Malayalam film actress, who was allegedly abducted in 2017, had approached the court alleging bias on the part of the trial court. The prosecution had also backed the plea saying that the trial under the present judge would not serve the purpose of justice.

A Bench of Justice VG Arun dismissed the plea, saying that it will set a bad precedent. The court also rejected prosecution's request for a stay on the order for a week so as to enable them to approach the Supreme Court and ordered that the trial should resume from Monday onwards.

"It goes without saying that unless the Court and the prosecutor work in sync it will result in either the guilty escaping from the clutches of law or the innocent being punished. I am confident in the endeavour to reach the truth and render justice, the Special Public Prosecutor and the defence lawyers will work in tandem as is expected of them. For the reasons mentioned above, I find no sustainable ground to allow the prayer for transfer. Consequently the transfer petitions are dismissed," the order said.

The victim and prosecution had earlier filed a plea before the additional Sessions Judge itself to halt the trial and had sought leave to approach the High Court but it was rejected on October 23. This led to the current plea before the High Court.

Popular Malayalam actor Dileep and his associates are being tried for hatching a conspiracy to take revenge on the female actor by having her abducted, sexually assaulted and photographed. Six persons have been arrested and are arrayed as accused in the case. It was alleged that the victim had a role to play in Dileep’s separation from his former wife.

In the trial that began early this year, the court has by now examined close to 200 witnesses, even as the apex court had directed that there should be no more delays and that the verdict be positively delivered in January next year.

The actress was abducted and assaulted in a moving car in Kochi on February 17, 2017. Dileep, who was named as a conspirator in the case, was arrested in July 2017 in connection with the case and spent several weeks in jail before securing bail.

Since securing bail, he has been allegedly trying to delay the trial in the case, through legal submissions, even before the apex court. There have also been charges of his supporters influencing the victims. The Kerala police has already booked the personal assistant of actor-turned politician Ganesh Kumar for threatening the approver in the case.

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