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Malayalam actor Dileep moves Kerala HC for bail in actress abduction case

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested last Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, today filed a bail application before the Kerala High Court, which said it would take it up for hearing on Thursday.
 
On Saturday, Dileep, 48, had been denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.
 
The actor had been initially sent to two weeks in judicial custody but last Wednesday the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly had remanded him to two days in police custody. On Friday, the police custody was extended till 5 pm on Saturday, by when the court said it would also rule on his bail application.
 
The special prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that if he is given bail the actor could influence and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence. 
 
The court turned down his bail plea, saying, among other things, that the crime he had been accused of was very serious. After being sent to judicial custody till July 25, he was taken back to the Aluva sub-jail here.
 
Dileep's counsel K. Ramkumar pleaded for an urgent hearing on the bail application, but the High Court rejected the plea and set Thursday for hearing the matter. Mr. Ramkumar said his client had been framed in the case. The prosecution said it would oppose the bail application and wanted time to make its response.
 
The abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While he was in their custody last week, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
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There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Dileep and the actress had acted in several movies together and they had formed a popular screen pair before they fell apart. 
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur and used to wield considerable influence in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Meanwhile, media reports said today that the police investigation team had found a memory card which reportedly contained pictures of the actress taken by her tormentors. The memory card was got from Raju Joseph, the junior of lawyer Pratheesh Chacko, who the police are trying to trace for questioning. The card did not have the images or videos, and the police are now trying to ascertain if they had been erased, the reports added.
 
The police also recorded the statements of two MLAs -- Mukesh, a well-known actor, and Anwar Sadath, who is said to be close to Dileep -- in Thiruvananthapuram today. Pulsar Suni had been employed as Mukesh's driver for some time in the past. 
 
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