The Supreme Court on Monday extended the deadline for conclusion of the trial in the sexual assault of a popular actress in which Malayalam cine actor Dileep is accused. [P Gopalakrishnan @ Dileep vs State of Kerala].
A Bench of Dinesh Maheswari and MM Sundresh granted time till January 31, 2023 and stated that the trial court may decide to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis if necessary.
"Though, as at present we are not making any comments on the variety of grievances voiced by the petitioner but, taking the totality of circumstances into account and the orders already passed in this matter, we would expect that the trial of the matter is assigned a specific priority and, for that purpose, if necessary, the trial may proceed on day-to-day basis."
The trial court was directed to send a status report of progress after four week, and the matter before the top court was listed next for October 11.
The Supreme Court was considering a miscellaneous application moved by Dileep alleging that the trial allegedly which is underway at the Principle Sessions Court, Ernakulam is being protracted at the behest of the prosecutrix to evade a verdict. Further, rather than the case proceeding expeditiously, he has been subject to a media trial, it was submitted.
The Supreme Court had in January refused to pass any directions on a plea by Kerala government seeking extension of deadline for completing trial against Malayalam cine actor Dileep in the actress abduction and sexual assault case. The Court had instead left it to the discretion of the trial court to take an appropriate decision. It hadalso set a deadline of February 16, 2022 for completing the trial against the actor.
Dileep and his associates are being tried for conspiring to set the wheels of a revenge crime in motion against a female actor in the Malayalam film industry, by having her abducted, sexually assaulted, and photographed.
In July 2017, Dileep was arrested and charged under various offences under the IPC, including Sections 366 (kidnapping), 120B (criminal conspiracy) , and 376D (gangrape). He was subsequently released on bail.
It was alleged that the victim had a role to play in Dileep’s separation from his former wife. Dileep is alleged to have orchestrated the abduction of the actress, during which nude photographs of her were taken.
Another case was registered against Dileep in December 2022 for conspiring to kill police officers who were investigating a sexual assault case against him. While the Kerala High Court declined to quash the FIR in the matter, it granted the actor anticipatory bail in the matter.
The Kerala High Court had also allowed the prosecution time till July 22 to file the final report of the further investigation that it had permitted the State crime branch to conduct
The Kerala High Court is currently seized of a plea moved by the survivor actress alleging foul play in the probe and trial as well as another plea seeking to restrain the media from reporting on the trial of the case till the final verdict is pronounced.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi with advocates Philip T Varghese, Sujesh Menon, P Vamshi Rao, Vishwaja Rao, Pragya Baghel, Ranjeeta Rohatgi appeared for Dileep.
Senior Advocates Ranjit Kumar and R Basant with advocates Nishe Rajen Shonker, Anu K Joy, Alim Anvar, G Prakash, Basant R, K Rajeev, NR Menon appeared for the respondents.