Photo: B Muralikrishnan
Kochi: The Crime Branch on Tuesday opposed in the Kerala High Court the plea moved by actor Dileep to quash the FIR accusing him and others of conspiring to kill and threaten officials probing the 2017 actress assault case, saying that his petition was a "bundle of lies and distorted facts".
In its statement, filed in response to the actor's plea, the agency contended that materials collected so far by it indicates a "dangerous state of affairs" wherein the life of several senior police officers, who were investigating the 2017 case, was under threat.
In the statement, filed through senior government pleader and additional public prosecutor P Narayanan, the Crime Branch claims that director Balachandra Kumar was a witness to the alleged conspiracy hatched by the actor, his brother, brother-in-law and three others.
The agency also claims that the FIR was registered based on Kumar's statements and the voice clips given by him to the police.
Dileep, in his plea filed through advocate Philip T Varghese, has sought quashing of the FIR or in the alternative to transfer the probe to the CBI, alleging that the registration of the latest case was "vindictive, ill motivated, pre-determined and malafide".
He also alleges that the investigation carried out so far in the case by officers of the Crime Branch was "highly tainted, biased, partisan, meaningless and dishonest."
Denying the allegations, the Crime Branch contended that the case was being investigated properly and in accordance with law and hence, at this juncture, there was no legal justification to transfer the investigation to CBI.
It also alleged that the probe so far in the case has revealed that "the accused were deferring the actual commission of the offence to be done after conclusion of the trial in the main case" -- the 2017 actress assault.
"Only if the present investigating agency is allowed to conduct the investigation, the nature, extent, and the ramifications of the case can be brought to light. This is necessary not only to bring the accused to book, but to also protect the life of the officers," it contended and added that the probe in the matter was at its nascent stage.
On January 9, the Crime Branch registered the latest case on a complaint filed by an investigating officer based on a purported audio clip of Dileep, which was telecast by a TV channel, in which the actor was allegedly heard conspiring to attack the official.
Dileep, in his plea, has also questioned the credibility of Kumar and has alleged that the present case was pre-planned between the director and one of the investigating officers in the 2017 case.
Denying the allegation, the Crime Branch claimed that before the date of revelation regarding the alleged conspiracy, there was no acquaintance between Kumar and the officers investigating the 2017 case.
The agency also claimed that "credibility and reliability of Balachandra Kumar regarding the information given by him is tested and fortified by the investigation conducted so far in the present case".
The Crime Branch also said that the actor and the other accused in the case were not only not cooperating with the investigation in the latest case, they were also tampering with the evidence.
This was evident from the forensic analysis of the mobile phones submitted before the high court, on its orders, as it revealed that they were already subjected to data extraction and deletion, the agency alleged.
The actor and five others were booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including Sections 116 (abetment), 118 (concealing design to commit offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 (criminal act done by several people).
The actress-victim, who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films, was abducted and allegedly molested in her car for two hours by some persons who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area. The entire act was filmed by those persons to blackmail the actress.
There are 10 accused in the 2017 case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.