The Kerala High Court on Saturday asked actor Dileep and four other persons to submit their phones to the registrar general by Monday, PTI reported.
The court was hearing anticipatory bail pleas of Dileep and other accused persons in a case related to an alleged conspiracy of killing an officer investigating the 2017 sexual assault case against the actor.
On February 17, 2017, a female 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.
On Saturday, Justice Gopinath P said that the prosecution had the right to seek the accused persons’ phone for forensic examination, Bar and Bench reported.
Advocate B Raman Pillai, representing Dileep, opposed the decision. He said that submitting the phone would violate the actor’s right against self-incrimination.
The right against self-incrimination is guaranteed under Constitution’s Article 20(3). It states that no person can be forced to give a witness against self.
Pillai also said that the phone contains conversations between Dileep and his lawyers. He added that phones were already sent to their own forensic experts.
However, the crime branch of the police said that the petitioner had “purposefully removed their mobile phones and attempted to conceal and thereby destroy the evidence under the pretext of sending it to examination”, PTI reported.
The court did not accept Pillai’s argument about the right against self-incrimination and ordered Dileep to submit his phone by 10.15 am on Monday.
On Thursday, the High Court had granted the actor protection from arrest till February 2 in the conspiracy case.
Director-General of Prosecution TA Shaji had sought a court directive to Dileep and the other petitioners to surrender their mobile phones, which they refused to hand over to the investigating officer during interrogation.
At Friday’s hearing, the court told Dileep that it was “improper” to not hand over his phone to the investigating officers. It questioned the actor’s hesitancy in handing over his phone before the high court’s registry.