By LE Desk

New Delhi, March 1: The Supreme Court on Monday gave six more months as a “last opportunity” to complete the trial in the sexual assault case against Malayalam actor Dileep. 

The case is being heard by a local court in Kochi. The judge there had sought the extra time because the trial had been delayed due to litigation in the High Court. This is the second time such an extension has been granted.

Giving the trial six more months, the apex court today asked both sides to cooperate, NDTV reported.

A woman actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused while travelling to Kochi for work in February 2017. There were at least four men, who had allegedly filmed the attack. Malayalam movie star Dileep, the eighth accused in the case, was arrested in July 2017 and released two months later on bail.

He was charged with conspiracy to abduct and molest the actress inside her car.

The trial, which began in November 2019, was recently halted after the prosecution moved the Kerala High Court seeking to change the trial court judge, alleging bias. The actress, too, had made such a demand. However, the Kerala High Court rejected the plea.

The state government then moved the Supreme Court, which, in December 2020, rejected the request saying such allegations were “unwarranted”.

The Additional Special Sessions Court in Kochi last month dismissed a petition seeking cancellation of Dileep’s bail, according to an ANI report. The prosecution had alleged that he had intimidated two witnesses in the case to make statements in his favour. Dileep, however, pointed that the Crime Branch which probed the matter had not found any evidence to prove this allegation.

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