The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted the prosecution 10 more days to examine additional witnesses summoned in connection with the 2017 sexual assault case in which Malayalam actor Dileep is one of the accused persons, reported Bar and Bench.
In 2017, an actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused inside her car for two hours. Dileep is accused of planning the assault. The accused persons had reportedly filmed the assault to blackmail the woman.
On January 17, the Kerala High Court had agreed to the state government’s request to re-examine witnesses and summon new ones in the sexual assault case.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Director General of Prosecution TA Shaji told the High Court that three witnesses have been examined and two more needed to be evaluated.
Shaji said that summons to these two witnesses have not been sent as one lived in Telangana and another in Tamil Nadu, reported The New Indian Express. He said that the Kerala government needed written permission from the contempt authority in these states to serve summons.
Shaji also pointed out that the investigation into statements made by director Balachandrakumar was underway and that it would take some time to be completed.
Balachandrakumar had released a released an audio clip in which Dileep could purportedly be heard asking some persons to “wait to see how the five investigating officers are going to suffer”. The police have registered another first information report against the Malayalam actor for allegedly conspiring to kill the investigation officer in the sexual assault case.
On Tuesday, the court ordered that the time limit to examine witnesses can be extended for 10 days from January 27.
Senior Advocate B Raman Pillai, appearing for Dileep, asked that this be the last extension granted. The court then directed the director general of prosecution to ensure that the witnesses are examined within the the stipulated time.
On Monday, the actor had urged the Supreme Court to not extend the February 16 deadline to finish trial in the sexual assault case.
Earlier this month, the woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted in 2017, had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the slow 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.