KOCHI: The Kerala High Court today granted bail to Malayalam actor Dileep, behind bars for 85 days in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of a South Indian actress.
A few hours later, he walked out of the Aluva sub-jail, waving and blowing kisses to his fans, who had gathered in large numbers.
Justice Sunil Thomas imposed stringent conditions while granting bail to 49-year-old Dileep and said he should not tamper with evidence.
Dileep should surrender his passport, deposit a bail bond of Rs one lakh and two solvent sureties for the like amount besides appear before investigating officers as and when required, the court said.
It also said he should not influence or threaten the victim or witness by any means including words expressed through print and electronic media.
In the event of Dileep violating any of the conditions of his bail, the court said it shall be open to the magistrate to take steps in that regard, including cancellation of bail after notice.
Police had a tough time controlling the crowd which had thronged the premises since afternoon soon after hearing about the high court granting him bail.
The fans distributed sweets and flowers and garlanded a huge cut-out of the actor near the sub-jail.
This was the fifth time that Dileep has approached a court for bail.
Four bail pleas filed by Dileep were earlier rejected --twice each in a magistrate court at Angamaly and the high court.
Since the investigation against Dileep was in the final stages, his further custody was not necessary, the court held.
The police have claimed that a conspiracy to abduct and assault the actress in a moving car and film the act was hatched by Dileep.
During his 85-day incarceration, he was permitted to come out of the jail only for few hours on September 6 to enable him to perform certain rituals in connection with his father's death anniversary.
Dileep's actress-wife Kavya Madhavan had also been questioned by investigating officers and fearing arrest she had moved the high court for anticipatory bail, last month.
However, after police gave assurance in the court that she will not be arrested, it was dismissed.
Dileep's friend and director Nadirshah had also been extensively questioned by investigating officers.
His anticipatory bail plea is coming up before the high court tomorrow.
Six persons, including key accused Pulsar Suni, were arrested in connection with the actress abduction case.
Read the bail order here:
The 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 night and later escaped in a busy area.
Following his imprisonment, the release of Dileep's multi-crore film "Ram Leela" had been held up several times, but it hit theatres last Friday and is running to packed houses across the state.
Dileep was given a warm welcome by his mother, wife Kavya, daughter Meenkashi and other members of his family when he reached home.
Many members of the Malayalam film fraternity expressed happiness at the actor being granted bail.