Kochi: The Kerala police team, headed by Crime Branch IG Dinendra Kashyap, waited patiently for as many as 81 days putting together pieces of evidence to unravel the larger conspiracy and establish concrete evidence of actor Dileep’s role in the planning and execution of the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actress on February 17 in Kochi.
The cracking of the sensational case which had triggered outrage equally among the public, film fraternity and political parties, is definitely a feather in the cap of Kerala police.
After the arrest of Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni, who brutally attacked the actress in a moving van while she was returning from a shooting location, the police team was quick to dismiss conspiracy theories, hence hoodwinking the central players including Dileep into believing that the investigation from this angle was closed.
Realizing that Pulsar Suni should be kept behind bars to take forward the investigation into the conspiracy angle, the police submitted the first charge sheet to the court within 60 days into his arrest, thus denying the accused a chance to get conditional bail.
How cops cornered Suni
The police were certain that if Suni was left to feel depressed and helpless by placing him in such an environment, he would contact the people who hired him to attack the actress. Arrangements had also been made inside the cell to monitor him thoroughly.
The police did not have to wait too long as Suni made a couple of calls from the coin-box phone at the jail complex in the days that followed. Investigations revealed that the calls were made to Dileep’s close acquaintances to obtain the contact numbers of the actor as well his manager Appunni and close friend and filmmaker Nadhirshah.
Following the development, the police started to keep a close watch on the trio as well. Suni made these calls at a time when the actor and his team were preparing to tour the US, as they were under the impression that the investigation into the case was over with the submission of the charge-sheet in which Suni was named the first accused.
Twist in the tale
In the meantime, a police officer, who did a small role in Dileep-starrer ‘Welcome to Central Jail’ leaked out the details of police’s move to the actor. Shortly thereafter, Dileep received a copy of the letter, purportedly written by Suni from the prison, on his WhatsApp account, which prompted him to play the ‘victim card’ to counter the imminent police action.
Subsequently, Dileep lodged a complaint with the police on April 20 alleging that Suni and his accomplices were trying to blackmail him, demanding money. However, the move backfired. In fact, it was the telephone recording of the conversation between him and Suni which the actor submitted along with the complaint that eventually landed him in a soup.
The police tightened the noose around Dileep after forensic examination revealed that the phone recordings, in which Suni claimed that a superstar, a leading producer, and a prominent actress in Mollywood coerced him to name Dileep as an accused, were part of a plot hatched by Dileep and Nadhirshah to mislead the investigation.
A top actor tried to help Dileep?
When it became evident that Dileep would soon be arrested in the case, a top actor, along with two of his colleagues, pulled the strings to save him, but their efforts were debilitated by the controversial remarks made by some members of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) during a press conference in Kochi.
It is said that Dileep and Nadhirshah had revealed to the cops many tales of the dark side of the glamor business when the duo was subjected to a two-day-long marathon interrogation. Remarkably, it was the second phase of the probe which began on April 20 based on Dileep’s petition that culminated in his arrest on the 81st day.
The mastermind behind the brutal assault on the actress was cornered by the police following a 25-hour questioning spread over two days. On June 28, Dileep was subjected to a 13-hour grilling while on Monday the interrogation lasted about 12 hours. It is learned that Dileep confessed to the crime around noon on Monday. Based on his revelations, the investigating team has hinted at more arrests in the coming days.
The statements of Dileep's wife and actress Kavya Madhavan, and her mother Shyamala would be recorded as part of the investigation, an officer said.
The cops gathered many crucial information from Dileep during the questioning by making him believe that the entire procedure was to collect evidence in the petition filed by him against Suni, the main accused. It was Crime Branch IG Dinendra Kashyap who led the Monday's crucial interrogation. Though Kashyap was not part of the team which questioned Dileep on June 28, it is learned that the grilling was based on the questions prepared by him.
CI Biju Poulose was in charge of the team which was assigned to prevent any effort to leak probe details. It was also him who monitored the activities of the accused in the prison and collected vital evidence from them.
No support from home turf
Interestingly, the first hints suggesting Dileep’s involvement in the abduction and attack of the young actress came from Aluva, his home town. Reacting emotionally, Dileep denied the charges and warned media of legal action for 'baseless allegations', but the local people did not take him at face value.
Even when Dileep and Nadhirshah were questioned at the Police Club in Aluva for 13 long hours, nobody from the local community bothered to protest or question the police action.
As more arrests were made in connection with the case, the police had unofficially confirmed the involvement of Dileep in the crime. According to sources, a team of about ten cops in mufti had reached the actor’s residence near Aluva Palace on an evening a couple of weeks ago and questioned him for hours. Their vehicles were seen parked on the Palace premises.
It is learned that the team was led by an official who was previously attached to the secret wing of the Aluva police. Though there were several local politicians at the Palace when the squad arrived, they could not watch them entering the actor’s house as the huge wall in front of the palace obstructed their view. However, as they were aware of the situation, the information was passed on to a section of media.
Contradictory versions of events
When did you first learn about the attack on actress and from whom? When cops asked this question to Dileep, his answer was, “I came to know about the incident when producer Anto Joseph phoned me in the morning of February 18.” Afterwards, the police questioned Anto and his statement was as follows: “I had tried to contact Dileep several times immediately after the actress was attacked but he did not pick up the phone. The next day around 9.30 a.m. when Dileep called me back, I told him about the incident. But he cut the call without asking any detail.”
Examination of the call details revealed that the particular call lasted only 12 seconds, and it emerged that the police found contradictions in Dileep’s statements. The police assumed that if Dileep came to know about the incident only when Anto phoned him, the conversation would not have lasted only 12 seconds. He decided to call Anto back in the morning probably was to avoid any suspicion, the police assumed.