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Actor Sexual Assault Case: Kerala High Court Grants Bail To Accused Manikandan

Hannah M Varghese
15 Nov 2021 12:45 PM GMT
Actor Sexual Assault Case: Kerala High Court Grants Bail To Accused Manikandan
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Petitioner stands on a slightly lesser footing than that of the main act committed by prime accused, the Court said.

Kerala High Court on Monday granted bail to Manikandan, the third accused in the 2017 sensational case relating to the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actor. Justice Sunil Thomas while allowing the application observed that the petitioner had spent over 4 years in jail in the matter and that he had a comparatively minimal role in the case:"On a close evaluation of the...

Kerala High Court on Monday granted bail to Manikandan, the third accused in the 2017 sensational case relating to the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actor. 

Justice Sunil Thomas while allowing the application observed that the petitioner had spent over 4 years in jail in the matter and that he had a comparatively minimal role in the case:

"On a close evaluation of the allegation of the prosecution, the role played by the petitioner herein stands on a slightly lesser footing than that of the main act committed by the prime accused, who definitely stand on a different pedestal. Having evaluated the entire facts and considering the nature of the allegation against the petitioner, he definitely needs a different consideration from that of the first accused." 

According to the petitioner's counsel, he could only be attributed with the offence of aiding the first accused in the commission of the crime. Whether it was a premeditated act with the involvement of the first accused and whether the petitioner was aware of the real intention of the first accused are matters of evidence which has to be evaluated after trial. 

It was further contended that the petitioner has undergone a substantial period of detention, which is more than one half of the maximum punishment, that can be granted under the law if found guilty. 

The Counsel also suggested that whether he was trapped into a crime by the first accused was also a matter which required considerable evaluation and appreciation of evidence. The petitioner added that he had not committed any criminal act on the victim. 

Prominent Malayalam actor Dileep is accused as a conspirator in the case. He was released on bail in 2017, so were most of the other accused in the case. However, the first accused has not been released yet. 

The Court noted that out of 360 witnesses, only 180 witnesses had been examined so far and additional 29 witnesses were yet to be examined. In such circumstances, the possibility of the trial taking more time could not be completely ruled out. 

Further, it was brought to the attention of the bench that the petitioner has been seeking bail repeatedly to no avail. Every application was rejected considering the seriousness of the allegation, the role allegedly played by the petitioner and the fact that the trial of the case had commenced. 

The last two bail applications were dismissed on the anticipation that the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court for the investigation of the case was fast approaching, by which time the trial could be complete.

However, this deadline was extended by the Apex Court considering the number of witnesses to be examined. Accordingly, the Court released the petitioner on bail with stringent conditions. 

Advocates M.A Vinod and K.L Sreekala appeared for the petitioner in the case while Government Pleader A.S. Dheeraj appeared for the State. 

The allegation of the prosecution is that the petitioner along with five other accused hatched a criminal conspiracy to kidnap a popular film actress, wrongfully confine her and record her nude photograph.

In furtherance of that conspiracy, on 17.02.2017, when the victim was proceeding in her vehicle along the National Highway, after staging a fake accident, the petitioner along with a few others, forcefully entered the vehicle, confined her and took her to Cochin. On the way, the first accused entered the vehicle and sexually abused her.

This act was video graphed by him on a mobile. It appears that the petitioner had taken the control of the victim's vehicle from the first accused at the time of molestation of the victim. The crime was registered pursuant to the victim's complaint. 

Case Title: Manikandan v. State of Kerala

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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