Dileep and Kavya Madhavan
Dileep and Kavya Madhavan Image Credit: Twitter@igtamil

Dileep, a superstar in the Malayalam film industry, who spent close to three months in jail in 2017 (July 10 - October 3) following allegations of a sexual assault case, landed in further trouble after revelations by a former director friend that the actor was involved in a conspiracy to attack the police officers probing the case.

The survivor in the case, a south Indian actress, revealed her identity through her social media post on January 10, 2022. Several top actors in the Malayalam industry came in support of the actress by sharing her post.

Like a climax in a movie, the case involved several twists and turns for the last five years.

A look at the timeline of events after the allegations

April 19, 2022: The Kerala High Court declined to quash an FIR accusing actor Dileep and others of conspiring to threaten and kill the officials probing the 2017 actress assault case or to transfer the conspiracy case to the CBI for investigation. The detailed order containing reasons for the decision is awaited.

April 13, 2022: The Crime Branch of Kerala Police postponed the interrogation of Kavya Madhavan after she insisted on the interrogation to be held at her house in Aluva region. The Crime Branch had earlier issued a notice to Kavya asking to appear before the probe team for interrogation. Meanwhile, apart from Kavya, Anoop and Suraj, the brother and brother in law of actor Dileep were also issued notices.

April 11, 2022:  Kavya Madhavan, who was summoned by the Crime Branch for interrogation on April 11 in relation to the actress assault case, will be interrogated on April 13 as she requested a rescheduling. According to reports, Kavya wrote a letter to the probe team expressing her difficulty in reaching Kerala from Chennai and requested a new date. 

April 09, 2022:  The prosecution has submitted a pendrive before Kerala High Court whiloe seeking more time to conclude the further investigation. The pendrive includes two folders containing three voice clips each which were apparently collected by the investigating officers during the course of further investigation. The prosecution has submitted that the said clips are highly necessary for proper adjudication of the case to satisfy the Court of the necessity to extend the time frame to complete the further investigation.

April 08, 2022: The Crime Branch of Kerala Police served notice to Kavya Madhavan, Kavya is the wife of Dileep who is the eighth accused in this case. to appear for interrogation in the assault case. The fresh development has come at a time when the probe team is to set to call the actor's wife Kavya Madhavan for questioning and confusion arose when she said since she is only a witness, the probe team can come to her house and take the statement, which the probe team refused.

Fresh trouble surfaced for actor Dileep when the Crime Branch police team took into custody a computer expert, who is alleged to have "cleaned up" his and his close aides' mobile phones.

Sai Sankar, a cyber expert and seventh accused in the case related to the conspiracy hatched to kill the police officers who had probed the case, was taken into custody in a case that the probe team had registered, based on a disclosure made by Dileep's former friend and director Balachandrakumar that he had conspired to do away with the police officials who probed the 2017 actress abduction case.

While Dileep and his close aides got anticipatory bail in this case, the name of Sankar surfaced during the probe and the police is understood to have found out evidence against him and last week named as an accused also.

Sankar's attempts to get anticipatory bail failed after the probe team had questioned him last month.

Incidentally, the probe team had to fight it out in the High Court to take into possession six mobile phones which were used by Dileep and his close aides and it was on scientific examination that it was found out the data in it was compromised.

This development comes at a time when the trial court, hearing the 2017 actress abduction case, asked the police official who probed the case to appear before it on Tuesday.

The court asked Deputy Superintendent of Police, Byju Poulose, to appear after it was alleged that he divulged certain information pertaining to the case to others - though the court had specifically forbidden this.

This case over the years has seen intense legal fights between the prosecution and defence counsel on numerous occasions and hence, neither of the parties is leaving anything to chance.

March 31, 2022: Dileep told the High Court of Kerala Wednesday that investigating officers conducted raids even in the room of his 87-year-old mother in connection with his case. In his submission, Dileep requested the court to quash the FIR filed by the Crime Branch on the conspiracy. He added that the court while granting him bail earlier had said there was no evidence against him prima facie.

March 30, 2022: The Kerala High Court asked whether utterances heard by film director P Balachandrakumar regarding the plan to harm the investigation officers by Dileep and other accused in the sexual assault case could be treated as conspiracy. The court also asked why Balachandrakumar was not made the first informant. That was probably the first information since it was revealed to a police officer. The crime branch registered an FIR based on the report of DySP Byju Paulose.

March 17, 2022:  The Kerala High Court refused to stay the investigation against actor Dileep for conspiring to harm and kill officials who were investigating the 2017 actor assault case in which Dileep was one of the accused.

February 15, 2022: Jolt for actor Dileep as the victim in the actress abduction case expressed her desire to implead in the case. Consequent to this, the court posted the case for February 21.

February 14, 2022: Dileep filed a petition to quash the FIR in the case; and if that’s not possible, have the case referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. In his petition, Dileep further stated that he was a victim of the conspiracy and there is no evidence against him.

February 7, 2022: After several rounds of hearing, the Kerala High Court granted bail to the actor but directed him and his aides to cooperate with the probe team failing which, the prosecution can seek his arrest.

January 31, 2022: Following the legal troubles facing Dileep, the family of a deceased associate of the actor has demanded re-investigation into his death, which was ruled an accident. Deceased Saleesh Vettiyatil had served as an assistant director on many of Dileep’s films, and was also the owner of a mobile shop in Kerala that regularly serviced the actor’s mobile phones. Saleesh died in August 2020 when his car hit a median. Saleesh lost control of the car he was driving and there was no other passenger in the vehicle when he hit the median. However, Saleesh’s relatives have cried foul play after allegations surfaced from two film directors that the death cannot be dismissed as a mere accident and a proper probe will reveal the real truth.

January 29, 2022: The Kerala High Court asked actor Dileep to submit the six phones demanded by Crime Branch latest by Monday, January 31. The court also rejected the request of Dileep's counsel to extend the deadline for the same to Tuesday, February 1. The counsel said that the phones have been sent to a private agency in Mumbai for forensic examination as the actor distrusted the agencies in the state.

January 25, 2022: As requested by the prosecution, the Kerala High Court allowed 10 more days for the prosecution to examine witnesses in the case. The deadline will end on January 27.

January 24, 2022: In a setback for the Kerala government, the Supreme Court has declined to entertain its plea to extend the time to complete the trial in the case.

January 23, 2022: Dileep and other accused appeared before Crime Branch as directed by the Kerala High Court for interrogation. The first day of interrogation that began at 9am was wrapped up shortly before 8pm.

January 22, 2022: High Court of Kerala allowed police to question Dileep and four others for three days. The court said the accused should appear before the police team for three days – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – from 9 am to 8 pm. The high court has prohibited the police from arresting the accused till January 27. The court also said it would consider the anticipatory bail plea of Dileep and the others on Tuesday, January 25.

January 18, 2022: The Kerala High Court once again postponed hearing the anticipatory bail plea to January 21.

January 17, 2022: The Kerala High Court allowed to re-examine three and summon five new witnesses in the ongoing trial. The court asked to see that the entire exercise of adducing additional evidence be concluded in 10 days.

January 14, 2022: Dileep's bail plea was postponed to January 18.

January 13, 2022: The crime branch probing the case, had raided the residences of the actor, his brother and a few others in the wake of the fresh disclosures made by director Balachandra Kumar, a close friend of Dileep.

January 10, 2022: The actress, via an Instagram post, spoke for the first time about the assault in public. Several actors in the Malayalam film industry shared her post.

Dileep seeks anticipatory bail.

January 9, 2022: Fresh FIR filed against Dileep after director Balachandra Kumar submitted incriminating audio clips.

January 7, 2022: The state government formed a new investigation team under Sreejith IPS.

January 5, 2022: Kerala government approached Supreme Court seeking a six-month extension to finish the trial. The trial court asked for the further probe to be completed by January 20.

January 4, 2022: Dileep wrote to DGP, requesting him to stop a further probe into the case.

December 29, 2021: Special Public Prosecutor VN Anilkumar quit over a disagreement with judge Honey M Varghese.

December 25, 2021: Dileep's former friend and director Balachandra Kumar made some explosive revelations against the actor when the trial was about to end. Kumar alleged that he witnessed Dileep seeing the visuals of the assault at the actor’s home in Aluva. Kumar also released several audio clips substantiating his claim.

January 4, 2021: Special Public Prosecutor VN Anilkumar was appointed in the case.

December 15, 2020: The Supreme Courtrejected the Kerala government’s appeal.

December 2, 2020: The Kerala government approached the Supreme Court, requesting that the judge be changed.

November 23, 2020: The Kerala High Court rejected the petition of the actress. Special Public Prosecutor A Suresan stepped down and criticised judge Honey M Varghese for being biased.

October 28, 2020: The actress moved Kerala High Court, requesting judge Honey M Varghese to be changed, alleging that the judge was hostile and biased.

September 18, 2020: The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) express solidarity with the survivor after several witnesses including actors Bhama, Siddhique, Edavela Babu and Bindu Panniker turn hostile.

Members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) at a press meet.

January 30, 2020: The trial began after around three years of the assault.

January 6, 2020: Trial court framed charges against 10 accused, including Dileep and Pulsar Suni.

November 2019: The trial stopped after the survivor approached the High Court, seeking a trial transfer to another court. The actress, alleging that the trial court judge was biased, asked for a woman judge.

June 28, 2018: Dileep declines Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA)'s invite to rejoin.

February 7, 2018: Dileep's plea to access the visuals of the assault was rejected. Though Dileep later approached the High Court and Supreme Court with the same request, both courts rejected his appeal. The trial was shifted to Ernakulam District Sessions Court.

January 20, 2018: Dileep approached the court, requesting a copy of the sexual assault video, and said he wanted to watch it to prove that it was a conspiracy against him. Senior police officer, ADGP Sandhya, who was a part of the investigation had been transferred.

December 5, 2017: The court accepted the charge sheet and more than 50 people from the film industry were named witnesses in the case.

November 22, 2017: Special Investigation Team (SIT) filed a 650-page long subsidiary charge sheet at the Angamaly Magistrate Court, naming 12 accused, with Dileep being the eighth. The charge sheet also named Warrier key witness.

tab_Dileep being arrested
Malayalam actor Dileep being taken to Aluva jail on July 11, 2017 Image Credit: IANS

October 3, 2017: After spending 85 days in jail, Dileep was granted bail.

September 10, 2017: The WCC launched 'Avalkoppam'(with her) campaign to express solidarity with the survivor.

September 6, 2017: Dileep was let out of jail for two hours to perform rituals on his father's death anniversary.

August 15, 2017: The actress filed a police complaint against Poonjar MLA PC George for making defamatory comments against her.

July 11, 2017: AMMA expelled Dileep following outrage from a large section of people.

In 2016, Dileep and Kavya got married after the actor divorced Manju Warrier.

July 10, 2017: After arresting Dileep, the investigation team sent him to a sub-jail in Aluva. The team said revenge was the motive behind the assault because the survivor, the friend of Dileep's former wife Manju Warrier, informed her about Dileep’s alleged relationship with actress Kavya Madhavan. In 2016, Dileep and Kavya got married after the actor divorced Warrier.

June 28, 2017: The investigation team questioned Dileep and Nadirsha for around 13 hours.

June 26, 2017: In an interview with a TV channel, Dileep blamed the survivor of the sexual assault for the incident, saying that she was a friend of Pulsar Suni.

June 24, 2017: Dileep and his close friend, director Nadirsha, revealed that they received a call from a person who identified himself as Pulsar Suni's prison mate and demanded Rs 1.5 crore for not revealing Dileep’s name in the case.

June 23, 2017: Jinson, a fellow inmate of Pulsar Suni, informed the police about some details of the crime.

Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case.

May 18, 2017: A separate collective called Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) was formed by some friends of the actress in the film industry and appealed to the Kerala CM for swift action in the case.

April 18, 2017: Police filed the first chargesheet that accused Pulsar Suni and six others.

February 26, 2017: Kerala opposition slammed chief minister CM Pinarayi Vijayan for stating that there was no conspiracy in the case, despite the actress alleging a conspiracy angle.

February 23, 2017: Pulsar Suni, along with another accused, Vijeesh, surrendered before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. The police started investigating the conspiracy angle in the case.

February 22, 2017: A lawyer submitted the mobile phone and memory card that contained the visuals of the assault before the Angamaly magistrate.

February 19, 2017: The police arrested three men, while prime accused Pulsar Suni avoided arrest.

February 17, 2017: Five unidentified men kidnapped and sexually assaulted the actress in a moving car near Kochi. The men recorded the assault and after two hours they dropped her at the residence of Lal, a renowned actor-director. The actress identified Pulsar Suni, who worked as a driver for several celebrities, as the assaulter and filed a complaint following which the police registered an FIR.