KOCHI: A Kerala High Court judge on Tuesday recused from hearing a plea by the survivor of the 2017 sexual assault, alleging political interference in the case, after she requested that he should not look into the petition.
Justice Kauser Edappagath recused from hearing the case after the petitioner's lawyer made the request in open court during the day.
The petitioner had moved an application to the high court Registrar seeking that the plea be not heard by Justice Edappagath, but despite that it was listed before him.
Subsequently, her lawyer urged that the matter be heard by another judge.
In view of the request, the Justice Edappagath recused from hearing the matter.
The petitioner-actress has claimed in her plea that there was a move to derail the probe.
In her plea, she has also raised serious allegations against the trial court saying the presiding officer has some "vested interest to save the culprits".
The plea came a day after the Crime Branch has reportedly decided to wind up the investigation into a related case of an alleged tampering of digital evidence.
"It is painfully submitted that the Government of Kerala which gave support to the cause of the petitioner/victim at the initial stage and allowed a fair investigation in the case by police officers of high integrity and took credit of the investigation politically has backtracked from its constitutional legal commitment of conducting a free, fair and complete investigation in the case," she has said.
The petition also alleges that Dileep has unlawfully influenced some of the politicians of the ruling front in the state and attempted to interfere with the further investigation in the case and prematurely close the same.
"...it is reliably learned that the prosecution as well as the investigation agency are now threatened by the political higher-ups to end the investigation halfway and file the additional final report in a half-cooked manner. This clearly establishes the illegal nexus between the accused and the ruling front," the plea has said.
Raising allegations against the trial court, the petition has said it was clear from the records that the "illegal access/tampering was done" while one of the digital evidence was in judicial custody.
The petition has said even though the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) authorities had submitted a report to the court, the judge kept the same without making any entries in the court records.
The petitioner has also alleged that Dileep, a film star and a multimillionaire, was capable of "playing any heinous tricks to influence anybody" and do "any blackmailing techniques to keep others under his captivity".
The actress-victim who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films was abducted and allegedly molested in her car for two hours by some of the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area.
The entire act was filmed by some of the accused to blackmail the actress.
There are 10 accused in the case and police arrested seven persons.
Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.