Victim, prosecution, govt seek change of court, Kerala HC stays trial in actor abduction case
The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the trial in the 2017 abduction and assault case of an actor till Friday after the victim, prosecution and the government sought a change of court.
A single bench of Justice V G Arun posted the matter for hearing on Friday and trial will be deferred till then.
The counsel appearing for the victim told the court that she had to undergo “severe ordeal” of continuous cross- examination for nine days by many lawyers of the accused and they raised objectionable questions. Though the prosecution raised repeated objections, the trial court did not intervene to protect the victim and overruled its objections.
At this point the public prosecutor said the judge was not ready to heed the objections raised by him also on several occasions. He also said that the sequence of events show the “trial was not proceeding in a fair and transparent manner.” The approach of the trial court judge in the case was “unheard of in a criminal case trial,” he said.
In the transfer application, the victim stated that “she was aggrieved by the attitude of the trial court and though proceedings were in-camera a battery of lawyers were present when she was cross-examined”. When many witnesses turned hostile the prosecution had asked the court to cancel the bail of the eighth accused in the case, actor Dileep and it was also turned down by the court, the victim pointed out.
In January, the Supreme Court had ordered the court to complete the trial in six months. But the lockdown induced by Covid-19 rendered that virtually impossible. In August, the Supreme Court gave another six months to the trial court.
The attack on the 33-year-old woman took place in February 2017 in Kochi. She was allegedly abducted and assaulted by a gang led by Pulsar Suni, a history-sheeter, in a moving car. They set her free after three hours but threatened to circulate the video of assault if she approached the police. However, she filed a complaint the same day. Dileep was arrested five months later on charges of hiring a criminal gang to settle personal scores with her.
He is the eighth accused in the case. Dileep was in judicial custody for 85 days before he was granted bail under strict provisions. Later he moved different petitions which the prosecution claimed was to delay the trial but it began in a court in Ernakulam last month. Earlier, his plea for a CBI probe was rejected by the Supreme Court.