Ex-DGP’s clean chit to Dileep in actor abduction case triggers row
In her YouTube channel, Sreelekha, the state’s first woman IPS officer, said the actor was a victim of media trial and investigating team was forced to arrest him because of pressure in 2017.
Former director general of police (DGP) R Sreelekha’s disclosure that Malayalam actor Dileep has no role in the woman actor abduction and assault case and many evidences against him were fabricated triggered a controversy in Kerala.
In her YouTube channel, Sreelekha, the state’s first woman IPS officer, said the actor was a victim of media trial and investigating team was forced to arrest him because of pressure in 2017. The prosecution is planning to initiate contempt proceedings against her and many women activists and survivor’s family also deplored her saying it was intended to weaken the case.
Later the former DGP, who retired last year, said she was aware of backlash and stood by what she said in the video. “Whatever I want to say I said it in the video and I don’t have anything else to add now,” she told this reporter.
She stunned viewers of her popular channel, “Sasneham Sreelekha” (With love, Sreelekha) on Sunday claiming that Dileep was innocent. She said the main accused in the case, Pulsar Suni, a history sheeter, had been involved in many similar incidents and there was no evidence to prove both Dileep and Suni had met. She said Dileep’s photo with Suni was photo-shopped.
Five or six persons, who were really behind the incident, would have been convicted by now had police had not gone after Dileep. Evidence linking Dileep and Suni was fabricated, she said in the video. “I suspect there is a conspiracy behind naming Dileep in the case. Dileep had several enemies who were powerful in the industry. Media also ran a high-pitched campaign against him,” she said in her video.
Former director general of prosecution T Asaf Ali said: “She has no right to comment on a case which is in the court. Being a former senior officer, she should have been more careful. She committed a grave error and contempt proceedings can be initiated against her.”
Women Collective in Cinema (WCC), a body formed in the wake of attack on the woman actor in 2017, also decried her statement. “We never expected this from a senior officer like her. Her utterances at this stage were uncalled for they will only help weaken the case,” said WCC member Deedi Damodaran. She asked chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to comment since police come under him.
Director Balachandra Kumar, whose disclosure last December led to the second case against Dileep, also criticised her. “She was a fan of Dileep for quite some time. The latest disclosure should be aimed at rescuing him,” he said.
The actor assault case took place in February 2017 when a leading south Indian woman actor was abducted and assaulted in a moving vehicle in Kochi by a criminal gang. Later gang members were arrested and police made Dileep eighth accused in the case on charges that the crime was carried out at his behest to settle an old score with the actor.
As the trial in the 2017 case was about to end in January 2022 a new case surfaced after the disclosure of director Balachandra Kumar. He told police that he met the prime accused in assault case Pular Suni at actor Dileep’s residence in 2016 when he went to discuss a new project and also claimed that the latter had a video clipping of the assault and he once invited him to see it.
He also alleged that said he was privy to a conversation that took place at Dileep’s house in which he heard about a conspiracy to eliminate officials who investigated the 2017 case. Soon after his disclosure prosecution moved the trial court for a fresh investigation and the court asked it to file a new case in January. Dileep, his brother, brother-in-law and two aides were booked under charges of conspiracy, destroying evidence and influencing witnesses in a criminal case.
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