The court upholds the trial court verdict sentencing the convicts to life imprisonment.
A single bench of Justice K Babu passed the order on a plea filed by the survivor seeking a court-monitored investigation into the alleged leakage of visuals from the memory card, and the change in hash value of the memory card thereof, that was kept in court custody.
The court also made it clear that the sessions judge can seek the assistance of any agency, including the police, to conduct the inquiry.
“The District and Sessions Judge is at liberty to seek the assistance of any agency, including the police, for conducting the inquiry. The petitioner is at liberty to present written submissions before the District and Sessions Judge. In the inquiry, if the commission of any offence is disclosed, the District and Sessions Judge shall proceed as provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,” the court said.
The court also directed the sessions court to complete the inquiry in one month. The court said that it had also formulated guidelines to be followed by trial courts for the preservation of digital evidence submitted to the courts as had been sought by the counsel for the petitioner.
The court issued the order on a petition filed by the survivor seeking a court-monitored investigation into the incident and stringent action against those involved.
The petitioner submitted that no one should be allowed to unauthorisedly access any document that is in the custody of the court. It was more so in the case of “sealed videos” on the sexual assault of the petitioner. The petitioner was very distressed over the incident. Normally, the police would have registered a case. But the police were unable to register a case because the unauthorised access took place when it was in the custody of the court.
During the hearing of the case, advocate Gaurav Agarwal, appearing on behalf of the survivor, had submitted that the memory card had been accessed three times while in court custody. He submitted that the memory was accessed on the night of January 9, 2018, and December 13, 2018, at 9.58 pm and 10.58 pm, respectively. The third access was done on July 19, 2021, from 12.19 pm to 12.54 pm.
He added that it had been established by the SFSL report that the hash value had been changed, thereby corroborating the reason for the same as being illegal access during the period of the custody of the memory card in different courts.
It may be recalled that a noted Malayalam actress was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car by a gang in Kochi on February 17, 2017. The perpetrators had also filmed the assault. Actor Dileep was arrested and jailed for nearly six months for his alleged links with the gang.
A single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran asked the Centre whether it intends to order a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) into the dealings.
Joseph was upset over not getting disability pension for several months despite filing several complaints.