The new Special Public Prosecutor appointed in the 2017 case of a Kerala actor’s kidnapping and sexual assault has quit. This is the second time, in almost a year, that a special public prosecutor has resigned from the high-profile case. The first one had quit just days after the Kerala High Court rejected the survivor’s plea to change the trial court judge.
The case is at a crucial stage of hearing with the Kerala High Court’s February 16 deadline to end the case – after the second extension of six months – nearing.
In February 2017, a woman actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused on her way to Kochi for work. The accused had allegedly filmed the crime. Malayalam movie star Dileep, the eighth accused in the case, was arrested in July 2017 and released two months later on bail.
He was charged with conspiracy to kidnap and molest the actress inside her car.
On Wednesday, the police sought a fresh probe into the scathing allegations by film director Balachandra Kumar against actor Dileep. The director, in his complaint to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last month, alleged that he had seen the prime accused in the case Pulsar Sunni at actor Dileep’s house. He further accused Dileep of watching the tape of the assault at his residence with a group of friends before it was produced as evidence before the court and has submitted the audio recordings from the actor’s house, including alleged attempts to influence key witnesses.
The ‘Women in Cinema Collective’ – an organisation working for women in the Malayalam cinema industry – also sought action into these allegations.
“Is the law-and-order machinery of our state looking into this key testimony from Mr Balachandra Kumar which has come out in the media recently? Do the actions alleged in the interview, amount to illegal actions like bribery and/or intimidation of crucial witnesses?” the organisation had said in its statement. The statement also sought police protection to the director based on his request and signed off with the hashtag “#Avalkoppam” – “with her” in Malayalam.