The Kerala Police on Friday told the High Court that they will not arrest Malayalam actor Dileep till his anticipatory bail plea is heard on January 18 in connection with a case against him for allegedly conspiring to kill an investigating officer in a 2017 sexual assault case, reported Live Law.

On February 17, 2017, an actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused inside her car for two hours. Dileep is among the 10 accused persons in the case and is the alleged mastermind of the assault. The accused persons had reportedly filmed the assault to blackmail the woman.

On Sunday, Kerala Police’s Crime Branch had registered a first information report against Dileep based on a purported audio clip in which he is heard asking some persons to “wait to see how the five investigating officers are going to suffer”.

Another person is reportedly heard saying that if a “truck is hitting Baiju Poulose [the deputy superintendent of police who investigated the sexual assault case], we would have to see another Rs 1.50 crore”.

Dileep, his brother P Sivakumar and brother-in-law TN Suraj had then moved the High Court for anticipatory bail in the matter.

At Friday’s hearing, Senior Advocate B Raman Pillai, appearing for Dileep, submitted before the High Court that a raid conducted at the actor’s home on Thursday amounted to excessive action by the police, Live Law reported.

The Court noted that the raid had been carried out after a magistrate’s court issued a warrant against Dileep. Pillai did not object to this, but argued that the manner in which the raid had been conducted was questionable.

Justice Gopinath P also said it would not be beneficial for him to see the contents of the purported audio clip before hearing the anticipatory bail plea, reported Bar and Bench. Pillai and Kerala Director General of Prosecution TA Shaji did not oppose the suggestion.

The judge did not pass any order for granting Dileep and other accused persons protection from arrest after Shaji gave an undertaking that they will not be held.

The audio clip was released by filmmaker Balachandrakumar, who had claimed to be a friend of Dileep. The clip was subsequently aired by Malayalam news channel Reporter TV, which led to the first information report.

The police have invoked sections pertaining to intimidation and criminal conspiracy against the accused persons.

Earlier this month, the woman who was allegedly sexually abused in 2017 had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the tardy pace of the trial and the latest developments in the case. The Kerala government had then constituted a new team to investigate the recent developments. The team is headed by Additional Director General of Police Sreejith.

The Kerala government had also filed a petition before the High Court in December, demanding that the judge presiding over the trial in the sexual assault case be replaced. The plea stated that it was aggrieved by the “biased, hostile and partisan” conduct of the trial court.

However, both the High Court and the Supreme Court rejected the petition.

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2017 Kerala sexual assault case: Complainant says she is ‘not alone in this fight for justice’