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The Kerala High Court has come down heavily on Malayalam film actor Dileep, an accused in a rape case of a film actress for his alleged attempts to delay the trial by submitting a plea against the court’s order that the trial be completed within six months.

It was only last week that the HC had ordered that the trial in the February 2017 case of an actress in a moving vehicle be completed within six months. The High Court also accepted the actress’s petition that the case be heard by a woman judge and accordingly appointed Justice Honey M Varghese to hear the case. Dileep then filed a counter petition asking why special consideration was given in this case when several sexual assault cases were being heard by male judges. The petition was rejected by the High Court. Last month, the HC had asked for the case to be disposed of within nine months, before changing it to six months last week.

The prominent Malayam film actress was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car while she was returning after shooting from Thrissur to her home in Kochi. Dileep was accused of masterminding the assault. In the chargsheet filed against the accused, it was stated that Dileep held a grudge against the survivor and that he had hired people including Pulsar Suni — prime accused in the case — to assault the actor, record the act and use it to blackmail her later. Dileep is an influential member of the film actors body in Kerala, Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA), a position which has since left.

—India Legal Bureau

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