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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Kerala High Court refuses to quash actor Dileep's FIR

The HC noted that the benefit of doubt should go to the investigating agency

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 20.04.22, 12:28 AM
Dileep.

Dileep. File photo

Malayalam film actor Dileep suffered a setback as Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition to quash an FIR against him and a few others for conspiring to murder police officers who had investigated the kidnap and rape of an actress in 2017, in which he is an accused.

Dileep moved the high court in February this year, more than a month after he was booked in the case that was brought to light by film director and estranged friend Balachandra Kumar. Kumar had handed over about two dozen audio recordings to the police.

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“In my view, the duty of the court is not confined to seeing that no innocent person is punished but also to ensure that proper punishment is granted to the real culprits. Therefore a balance has to be struck, and I find that proper balancing can be made in this case by allowing the investigation to continue,” the single bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman A. A. explained in the order.

The court dismissed Dileep’s plea to quash the proceedings against him and others accused in the case stating no ulterior motive could be found on the investigating agency although there were “traces of over-zealousness”.

“On scrutinising the circumstances under which the registration of the crime is made, traces of over-zealousness on the part of the authorities concerned can be found. However, unless the same is found to be tainted with malafides, no interference can be made at the said investigation. In this case, I could not find any materials revealing any ulterior motive or malafide on the part of the investigating agency. In such circumstances, I do not find any reason to allow the prayer sought for the transfer of investigation in this case.”

The court further noted that the benefit of doubt should go to the investigating agency at the FIR stage.

“Even if what is revealed from the allegations is a doubtful case for making out the offences, in my view, at the stage of FIR, the benefit of the doubt should go in favour of the investigation and not to the accused. This is mainly because, an interference in the investigation at this stage would foreclose all opportunities for the police to collect materials in support of the allegations.”

The actor had also made an alternative prayer seeking directions from the court to handover the murder conspiracy case to CBI apprehending the possibility of the state police influencing the case since those who allegedly faced the threat from the actor are senior officers. But the court ruled that “in the absence of any material indicating influence being thrust upon him at the instance of such superior officers, an order for transferring the investigation to another agency cannot be made.”

According to Kumar, Dileep, his brother Anoop and brother-in-law T.N. Suraj were among those who conspired to kill the investigating officers who had probed the actress kidnap case in which Dileep was arrested and remanded to judicial custody in 2017.

Kumar accused Dileep of saying in his presence that director general of police B. Sandhya, additional director general of police S. Sreejith, A.V. George who presently works as inspector general of police (fire and rescue), superintendents of police S. Sudarshan and Sojan and deputy superintendent of police Baiju Paulose would be dealt with.

The purported conversation between the accused, which Kumar recorded with his mobile phone, took place at Dileep’s home in Aluva, Ernakulam district, on November 15, 2017, a month after he was released on bail in the kidnap and sexual assault case.

They were all named in an FIR registered in January this year for conspiring to eliminate the police officers. The high court had subsequently granted pre-arrest bail to all of them. Dileep and four others have been booked under IPC sections 116 (abetment), 118 (concealing design to commit punishable offence), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 34 (common intention).

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