Trial in the Kerala actor abduction and assault case was temporarily stalled after the prosecution moved an application in the special court in Kochi to adjourn the proceedings and shift the case to another court.
In the petition, the special public prosecutor said he will approach the high court soon to shift the case to a new court. He said witnesses in the case were easily influenced.
The high-profile case has 355 witnesses and 80 have been examined so far. Some actors like Edavela Babu, Bindu Paniker and Bhaama had changed their earlier statements.
The prosecution and victim were upset after many witnesses turned hostile during the trial. The prosecution earlier moved the court to cancel the bail given to actor Dileep, eighth accused in the case, saying that some of the witnesses were influenced by him.
The incident took place in 2017 when the 31-year-old woman actor who was 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 to release it if she approached the police.
During the attack, the main accused Pulsar Suni, involved in many criminal cases, had reportedly told the victim that he was given a “supari (contract crime)” and was forced to do this. After the actor’s complaint, police arrested all accused who were directly involved in the crime. Since there were strong speculations that they carried out the sexual assault at the behest of someone, after six months the Special Investigation Team had arrested Dlieep and he spent three months in jail.
The case has witnessed many twists and turns. At one point the state government said Dileep was filing unnecessary pleas in different courts to delay the trial. In November last the Supreme Court had directed the special court, headed by a woman judge, to complete the trial in six months. But the trial was delayed again due to the coronavirus outbreak.
At least eight witnesses in the case have turned hostile so far.