Kerala MLA's staff held for threatening actress assault case approver

Another witness in the case also alleges threats by the accused
Last Updated 24 November 2020, 16:22 IST

The actress abduction and sexual assault case in Kerala is witnessing serious developments with actor-turned-Kerala MLA K B Ganesh Kumar's personal staff being held by the police on Tuesday on charges of threatening an approver in the case, while another witness in the case also came out with allegations of threats by the accused.

A popular South Indian actress was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted by a gang at the behest of actor Dileep in February 2017. Dileep, who is also an accused in the case, was arrested in this connection in July 2017 and was granted bail in October.

Pradeep Kottathala, who has been serving with Kumar as his office secretary, was held by police from the MLA's office at Pathanapuram in the suburbs of Kollam district. He allegedly threatened Kasargod native Vipinlal who is an approver in the case. A local court in Kasargod rejected anticipatory bail for him.

Kumar, who is with the ruling Left Front in Kerala, said that Pradeep was expelled from his office. He declined to make any further comments.

Kumar and actor Dileep, who is an accused in the actress assault case, are close to each other and hence police suspect that Pradeep could have threatened the approver at the behest of Dileep.

Vipinlal was initially made an accused in the actor assault case as he was found to have links with the key accused in the case including 'Pulsar' Suni.

Vipinlal said in his complaint to police recently that Pradeep threatened him over phone and through letters against given statements against the accused. Pradeep also allegedly rang up Vipinlal's mother by posing as an advocate's staff and threatened. The police registered a case at Kasargod and got evidence, especially mobile phone tower locations, said sources.

Thrissur native Jinson, who is another witness in the case, also alleged of threats from accused against giving statements. He said in a complaint to the police that a person contacted him over phone twice and offered around five cents land and Rs. 25 lakh in cash. Jinson was also a coprisoner when the actor assault case accused were in the prison under remand.

The fresh developments came close on the heels of Kerala High Court rejecting pleas of the assault victim actress as well as the prosecution for changing the trial court alleging unfair trial. Many key witnesses in the case have already turned hostile, and the special prosecutor of the case has also tendered resignation.

(Published 24 November 2020, 16:17 IST)

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