A court in nearby Angamaly today refused bail to popular Malayalam actor Dileep, arrested in connection with the alleged abduction and assault of a South Indian actress, and sent him to judicial custody till July 25.
Opposing the bail plea moved by the actor's counsel, the prosecution informed the judicial magistrate court that there is strong evidence against Dileep and expressed apprehension that granting bail would lead to tampering of evidence and influencing witnesses as he is very influential.
It would also adversely affect the ongoing probe into the conspiracy behind the sensational case, the prosecution said.
Special prosecutor A Sureshan alleged that supporters of Dileep have launched a strong campaign through social media hailing the actor, who is a prime suspect in the case.
If the actor is let out on bail, such campaigns, which have also targeted police, would be further strengthened, affecting the investigation, he said.
The prosecution alleged that the accused, charged under various sections of IPC, including Section 120(B) (punishment of criminal conspiracy) has spoken to the media against the actress who was subjected to brutal assault in a moving car on February 17 and that if he was out on bail, that would be a threat to the victim.
The government lawyer also pointed out that no accused arrested in connection with the case had been granted bail.
Moreover, police are looking for two other persons-- Dileep's manager and a lawyer-- who are also suspected to have links with the key accused in the case, 'Pulsar' Suni.
The prosecution also submitted a case diary in the court in a sealed cover to strengthen its argument.
Considering the arguments of the prosecution, the court denied bail to Dileep and sent the actor to judicial custody till July 25.
Dileep's counsel said they would move a higher court seeking bail.
The actor, brought to the court amid tight security on completion of three-day police custody, was later sent to a sub-jail in Aluva, which is also his home town.
The actor's counsel argued that his client was made an accused in the case merely on statements given by the first accused 'Pulsar' Suni, who is a habitual offender.
He alleged that there was no evidence against Dileep and he was being framed in the case.
Counsel also submitted a sealed cover with two mobile phones of Dileep to the court, with a plea to conduct a scientific examination of them without handing them over to police, as they would then be tampered with.
This move came even as police claimed that the phone used by the prime accused to take a video of assault of the actress reached Dileep through a lawyer allegedly connected with 'Pulsar' Suni.
Police reportedly conducted a search in the house of Dileep in search of the mobile phones.
Police had taken the 48-year-old actor, arrested on July 10, to various places in Kochi, Thrissur and Thodupuzha to carry out their investigation.
Initially the court had remanded the actor to 14 days judicial custody.
Police have claimed that the conspiracy to abduct and assault the actress and film the dastardly act was hatched by Dileep and 'Pulsar' Suni, the prime accused in the case.
Police in its remand report had claimed that Dileep had developed a grudge against the actress for letting his former wife know about his alleged affairs and hatched a conspiracy to take revenge way back in 2013.
The popular actress, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was abducted and allegedly molested inside her car for two hours by the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on February 17 and later escaped in a busy area here.
Six persons, including 'Pulsar' Suni, have been arrested in connection with the incident.
After his arrest on the charge of conspiracy, Dileep has been expelled from various film forums, including the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), as the industry rallied behind the actress.
Breaking her silence on July 13, the actress had expressed the hope that truth would come out in the case.