KOCHI: The Additional Special Sessions Court conducting trial in the actor abduction case has asked the prosecution to file a report in two days on the release of prime witness Vipin Lal, a Changanassery native who was made an approver in the case. Other petitions related to the case will be considered on December 22.As per CrPC Section 306, a person who was made approver while in judicial custody has to remain in jail until the case trial is completed.
Vipin, who had been in the news recently after alleging that MLA Ganesh Kumar’s office secretary tried to threaten and influence him to change his statement against actor Dileep in the case, is currently out of jail and staying at arelative’s house in Kasaragod.The court verified the case records after eighth accused Dileep filed a petition seeking a copy of the order granting bail to Vipin, but it was unable to find the documents.
“On verification, it is seen that no such order is available in the case records. ... Vipin was earlier arraigned as tenth accused in this case and later became approver while in judicial custody. The records produced by the prosecution ... shows that he is set at large. Hence prosecution is directed to file a report regarding how did he come out of the jail (sic),” it is written in the court diary.
As per Section 306(4)(b), every person tendered pardon shall, unless he is already on bail, be detained in custody until the termination of the trial. When TNIE contacted sources with the prosecution, they said records regarding Vipin’s bail might have gone missing when the case was transferred from the Angamaly Judicial First Class Magistrate Court to the Additional Special Sessions Court.
They further cited the High Court’s earlier rulings that bail can be granted to a person who was made approver while in judicial custody. “We will check with the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, which was handling the case before this. Without a bail order, the accused-turned-approver can definitely not be released from jail,” an official with the prosecution said.It was in July 2017 that a leading film actor was abducted and sexually assaulted on a moving vehicle on the way to Kochi. Ten accused persons, including actor Dileep, are facing trial in the case.