The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Malayalam actor Dileep seeking to quash further investigation into the 2017 sexual assault case against him, reported Live Law.

The High Court, however, directed the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch, which is investigating the case, to finish the inquiry by April 15.

On February 17, 2017, an actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused inside her car for two hours. There are 10 accused persons in the case and initially the police arrested seven people. Dileep was also arrested subsequently but later released on bail. The accused persons had reportedly filmed the assault to blackmail the woman.

In January, filmmaker Balachandrakumar had released a purported audio clip in which Dileep could 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 police officer who investigated the sexual assault case], we would have to see another Rs 1.50 crore”.

The Kerala Police had then registered another first information report against Dileep for allegedly conspiring to kill the investigating officers.

In his petition seeking to quash the investigation in the sexual assault case, Dileep contended that further investigation was not permissible as a final report had been filed in the matter in November 2017 and charges were framed in January 2020. The actor had claimed that the police were carrying out “a series of vindictive acts” under the garb of inquiry.

He had argued that the investigating agency had fabricated evidence against him as they could not produce any material in the sexual assault case.

Dileep had alleged that Paulose had hired Balachandrakumar to depose on the purported audio clip and then invented false stories after he realised that the trial in the case was not going in his favour.

Director General of Prosecution TA Shaji and Additional Public Prosecutor P Narayanan, representing the police, had told the High Court that there was no legal impediment in extending the inquiry, especially when new evidence emerges.

Shaji had submitted in February that it will take three more months to complete further investigation. He had said that 20 people have been examined and that some digital evidence has been collected so far.

“When we find new evidence, we are bound to conduct further investigation and find the veracity of the same,” he had said.

On February 7, the Kerala High Court had granted the Malayalam actor anticipatory bail in the FIR in related to alleged conspiracy to kill the investigating officers of the 2017 case.