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Actress claims evidence tampering in 2017 assault case

A prominent South Indian actress, who was abducted and sexually assaulted in 2017, has raised allegations of evidence destruction in the case. Speaking to the High Court of Kerala, she stated, “Unauthorisedly reading the memory card of the mobile phone while it was in the custody of the court was a clear attempt at destroying evidence.” Her legal representative emphasized the significance of the footage stored on the memory card as primary evidence, expressing concerns about potential tampering or alteration. The actress demanded a court-supervised investigation into the incident, with further proceedings adjourned until July 7 to allow time for the response from the counsel representing one of the accused, actor Dileep.

One of the survivor’s advocates, Supreme Court Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, highlighted that permission had only been granted by subordinate courts to examine visuals stored on a pen drive, which served as a forensic copy of the original memory card. The defense sought to examine the footage after a change in counsel for the prime accused, Pulsar Suni. The court, considering the survivor’s application, authorized the examination of visuals on July 19, 2021. Agarwal also argued that forensic examination had confirmed that the original memory card was in a Vivo phone, which contained social media apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram. He expressed concerns about the potential consequences if the footage were to be leaked on social media and demanded an investigation to determine if any changes were made to the memory card or if the videos were leaked or used for nefarious purposes.

The survivor’s counsel raised suspicions regarding those who may have attempted to destroy crucial evidence in the case and questioned the change in counsel for the first accused. The visuals on the memory card were examined on January 9, 2018, while in the custody of the Judicial First-Class Magistrate Court, Angamaly, and on the night of December 13, 2018, while under the possession of the District Principal Sessions Court. The counsel urged authorities to locate the computer and mobile phone used during these examinations and requested a scientific examination of the phone. The Director General of Prosecution, T A Shaji, did not oppose the survivor’s demands, acknowledging that the trial was in its final phase and urging against further delays in the process.


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