The Kerala High Court on Tuesday transferred to a magisterial court the mobile phones produced before it by actor Dileep and others who are accused of threatening officials probing the sexual assault of an actress in 2017. Justice Gopinath directed the Registrar General of the high court to send the six mobiles to the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court-I, Aluva, in a sealed cover.
The direction was issued after the lawyers for Dileep and the others objected to the mobiles being handed over to the police for forensic examination.
“We have serious apprehensions with regard to handing over the mobile phones to them,” the actor’s lawyers said.
The counsel for the police who urged the high court to hand over the phones to them, agreed that the devices can be sent to the magisterial court.
They, however, insisted that the actor and the others be asked to provide the unlock codes or patterns of the phones, to which Dileep’s lawyers said that the same would be provided to magisterial court.
The high court noted the undertaking on behalf of the actor and others that the unlocking patterns or codes in respect of each of the mobile phones shall be provided before the magisterial court.
With these directions, the high court listed the anticipatory bail plea of the actor and others on February 3.
The high court was hearing the anticipatory bail pleas moved by the actor, his brother, brother-in-law and others in the fresh case lodged against them for allegedly threatening officials probing the actress sexual assault case.
The issue regarding the mobile phones of the accused came up during the previous hearings of the matter.
On Monday, the police had claimed that Dileep and others were not cooperating with the investigation in the case, while the actor contended that the case was a “manipulation” and a “fabricated” one.
Police had claimed that the accused not only did not cooperate with the investigation, they also tampered with the evidence as they sent their mobile phones to Mumbai under the pretext of forensic examination to “sabotage the probe”.
The high court on January 29 had asked Dileep and others to produce before the Registrar General their mobile phones on a plea by the Crime Branch in the latest case against them.
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 of the accused, 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 some of the accused to blackmail the actress.
There are 10 accused in the case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.