Actor Dileep and his lawyers have once again tried to malign the assault-surviving actress by casting aspersions on her account of the incident — in his anticipatory bail plea filed before the Kerala High Court. Dileep, who is accused of masterminding the sexual assault of the Kerala actress, filed the bail plea after Kerala Police registered a new FIR against him and five others, including his brother Anoop and brother-in-law Suraj.
On 25 December, a former friend of the accused, director Balachandrakumar made several allegations against him. He also submitted audio clips in which male voices can be heard discussing a plan to cause physical harm to the investigating police officers of the case. The FIR covers this new discovery in the case.
While the Malayalam movie actor is entitled to a legal defence, he has repeatedly cast aspersions on the character of the survivor. Days before he was arrested in 2017, Dileep appeared for an interview on a television channel where he said that the survivor was to blame for the incident because she had been friends with Pulsar Suni, the first accused in the case. This was a clear instance of victim-shaming.
Inside the court as well, the survivor said that she was harassed by Dileep’s lawyers on several occasions. In her plea before the Kerala High Court, requesting to change the judge, the survivor’s counsel said, “There were many occasions in the last 11 months in which I cried inconsolably inside the special courtroom, unable to withstand the harassment and character assassination unleashed by lawyers representing the eighth accused [referring to Dileep]. Though the judge was a woman, she remained insensitive on all such occasions and facilitated the attack under the guise of cross-examination which lasted for more than five hours. I don’t have any hope about a free trial at the designated court. The case must be shifted to any other court immediately and I would not insist like in the past to have a woman judge at the chair.”
Even though the new FIR pertains to the alleged intention of the accused actor to murder the investigating officers and is not directly related to the survivor, the accused and his lawyers have seized the opportunity to imply that the entire case is false, questioning the visual of the assault.
In a subsequent point, the FIR says that the investigating officer, Baiju Paulose, and Sandhya ADGP (who was previously part of the team) were present at the postings of the case in the Supreme Court to prevent Dileep from obtaining a copy of the memory card. This despite the Supreme Court refusing his plea and ruling that the survivor’s privacy and safety is important and the visuals cannot be handed over to an accused.
Dileep has watched the visual of the assault in the Angamaly magistrate’s chamber. It was his plea to get a copy of the video, which three courts — the magistrate court, the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court — rejected.
Director Balachandrakumar, who levelled fresh charges against Dileep in December 2021, had said that the actor had been in possession of the assault visual even before he had viewed it in the court. He had said that the audio in the clip had been enhanced manifold.
The clip in possession of the court has unclear audio, raising the question how Dileep and his lawyers were able to cite audio instances from the clip to claim that the sexual assault was staged to trap him.
Moreover, the insinuation that the accused actor had been denied the chance to submit the clip for forensic examination is false. In 2020, the court had, on Dileep’s request, sent the clip once again to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for examination. The lab had submitted its report to him.