Actress assault case: Kerala HC orders probe into unauthorised access of memory card

In a significant development in the actress assault case of 2017, the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed a fact-finding inquiry into the survivor’s allegations about the memory card containing visuals of the sexual assault. The survivor had approached the court stating that the memory card, which was in the trial court’s possession, was accessed without authorisation, and that its contents were tampered with.

The court directed the District and Sessions Judge to conduct a probe into the alleged leak and change in hash value of the memory card. Justice K. Babu said that the inquiry is to be completed within a month from December 7. The survivor is at liberty to approach the court again in this regard, he further stated.

Malayalam actor Dileep, who is eighth accused in the case, had also moved a plea to stop the hearing in the survivor’s plea regarding the visuals being leaked.

Reports of the leaked visuals first emerged in 2022. Advocate Gaurav Agarwal appearing on behalf of the survivor had submitted that the memory card had been accessed three times while in court custody, Live Law reported. Agarwal stated that the card was accessed on January 9, 2018, while it was in the custody of the Angamali Judicial First Class Magistrate court, on December 13, 2018, while in the custody of the District Principal Sessions court, and July 19, 2021, when 34 new files were created on the card.

According to the News Minute, a report from the Forensic Science Lab stated that the hash value of the memory card had changed in the years it was kept in the court’s custody—a sign that something had been changed within it. Following this, the survivor had moved court requesting an investigation.

The actress was abducted and assaulted in a moving car by a gang of men who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017. The entire act was filmed to blackmail the actress. 

Dileep, accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy in the case, was arrested and later released on bail.