The Kerala High Court on Monday agreed to the state government’s request to re-examine witnesses and summon new ones 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. Malayalam actor 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.

The Kerala government had moved a trial court first to re-examine the witnesses after filmmaker Balachandrakumar released an audio clip that purportedly showed Dileep wanting to seek revenge on the investigating officers in the case. On January 3, the court had allowed the government to further investigate the case but denied its request to re-examine and summon witnesses, reported Bar and Bench.

The government then moved the High Court seeking to re-examine seven witnesses and summoning nine new ones.

On Monday, the High Court allowed the state government to recall only three of them and summon five additional witnesses. It also set aside the trail court’s order.

“The director general of prosecution shall see that a new special public prosecutor is deputed or some other alternative arrangement is made to conduct the case on behalf of prosecution and ensure that the examination of the witnesses and production of the documents is allowed as per this order is done within a period of 10 days,” the High Court said.

A new prosecutor is needed as Special Public Prosecutor Anil Kumar has resigned.

The High Court also directed the witnesses to cooperate with the prosecution.

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. On January 13, the Kerala government had constituted a new team to investigate the recent developments. The team is headed by Additional Director General of Police Sreejith.

New case against Dileep

On January 9, the Kerala Police had filed a new first information report against Dileep based on the audio clips released by Balachandrakumar and subsequently aired by Malayalam news channel Reporter TV.

In the purported audio clip, Dileep can be 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 probed the sexual assault case], we would have to see another Rs 1.50 crore”.

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

Dileep, his brother P Sivakumar and brother-in-law TN Suraj had then moved the High Court for anticipatory bail in the matter. On January 14, the Kerala Police had told the High Court that they will not arrest Dileep and others till their anticipatory bail plea is heard on Tuesday.