HC verdict on conspiracy case: A monumental victory for Crime Branch or a blow for Dileep

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Dileep | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The Crime Branch unit investigating the conspiracy case related to the 2017 actress sexual assault case was in high spirits following the Kerala HC's decision to quash the plea of actor Dileep on Tuesday. In a major relief for the probe team, High Court dismissed the petition filed by Dileep seeking to quash the FIR in the case.

In the verdict, the court stated that the CB can continue to probe the case. Court also dismissed Dileep's demand for the case to be handed over to CBI.

Dileep is the prime accused in the case filed by the crime branch. Besides Dileep, his brother Anoop, brother-in-law Sooraj, cousin Appu, friends Sarath, Baiju, and a cyber expert is also accused of conspiracy and tampering with evidence.

The case was bought to the attention of the Crime Branch after director Balachandrakumar 'revealed' that Dileep conspired to murder the investigation officer probing the actress assault case of 2017. Based on the audio recording submitted by Balachandrakumar, Crime Branch registered a case. Following this, more details on the conspiracy have come to light.

From the beginning, Dileep tried to avoid any scenario that enables the probe team from arresting him. The crime branch was allowed to question him for three days in connection with the case.

Court proceedings continued for weeks on the anticipatory bail pleas submitted by Dileep and co-accused in the case. Despite the prosecution tabling serious allegations against the defendants, the court granted bail for all accused.

Similarly, lengthy legal proceedings continued after Dileep failed to submit his phones. The court later directed the accused to produce the phones in court. Following this, the scientific report submitted in court claimed that the actor tampered with and destroyed WhatsApp chats on the phones. Later, the crime branch told the court that some of these chats were recovered. It was also revealed that the phones were sent to a lab in Mumbai for 'destroying their contents'.

Sai Shankar, a cyber expert from Kozhikode, was later charged in the case for destroying evidence in phones. According to the probe team, Sai Shankar arrived at Kochi at the request of Dileep and assisted in destroying the chats. Further, the crime branch also submitted crucial audio recordings concerning the case. Dileep alleged that these were recordings expertly made using mimicry artists.

Following this, Dileep approached the court to quash the FIR in the conspiracy case. He also demanded that the case be handed over to CBI if the FIR cannot be rejected. The prosecution said that accused has no right to choose the investigation agency.

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