The trial in the Kerala actor kidnapping and assault case was temporarily stayed, as the prosecution moved a special court in Kochi to adjourn the proceedings and transfer the case to another court.
In the petition, the special public prosecutor said that he would soon move the High Court to move the case to a new court. He said the witnesses in the case were easily impressed.
There are 355 witnesses in the high-profile case and 80 have been investigated so far. Some actors such as Edwela Babu, Bindu Panikar and Bhama had changed their earlier statements.
The prosecution and the victim were upset after several witnesses turned hostile during the trial. The prosecution said in court to cancel the bail granted to actor Dileep, the eighth accused in the case, that some witnesses were influenced by him.
The incident took place in 2017 when a 31-year-old female actor returning after a shooting assignment was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car by a criminal gang. There were 10 accused in the case. The accused filmed the incident and threatened that she would release him if he contacted the police.
During the attack, Pulsar Suni, the main accused involved in several criminal cases, allegedly told the victim that he had been given a “supari (contract offense)” and was forced to do so. Following the actor’s complaint, the police arrested all the accused who were directly involved in the crime. Since there was strong speculation that he had sexually abused someone at his behest, Dalip was arrested by the Special Investigation Team after six months and he spent three months in jail.
The case has seen many twists and turns. At one point the state government said that Dileep was filing unnecessary arguments in various courts to delay the trial. Last November, the Supreme Court directed the special court to complete the trial in six months headed by a woman judge. But the test was again delayed due to an outbreak of coronovirus.
At least eight witnesses in the case have so far been hostile.
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