Fourth only partially identified; won't affect case, says Inspector General; survivor starts work on new film
Imaging: Ravi Jadhav
Officers investigating the rape of an actor in a moving car in Kochi on February 17, conducted an identification parade of the remaining arrested in the presence of a magistrate on Saturday evening.
The rape survivor was present at the Aluva jail, where the parade was conducted. Police sources revealed that the accused who were to be identified were Pradeep (23), a driver and resident of Kottayam; Saalem (23), a bus conductor and native of Eddapally, Ernakulam North; and Manikandan, who was arrested from Palakkad.
Unfortunately, the survivor could identity only three accused accurately. She could only partially identify the fourth. Speaking to mid-day, Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam) Range P Vijayan said, "This will not hamper the prosecution case as the key accused have been identified."
Interestingly, Martin Anthony, the driver who was arrested soon after the crime, and Sunil Pulsar, were not produced for identification. Vijayan said, "As the actor had named both in the complaint, their identification was not required."
Survivor moves on
Meanwhile, the survivor has decided to move on in life and has started shooting for her next film. Vijayan said, "She is back to normal. We have given her police protection and we will continue to take adequate care of her."
However the biggest challenge before the investigating officers is to trace Sunil's mobile phone, on which he had allegedly filmed the crime. The police will be able to make a strong case against Sunil under sections 66 (e) (punishment for violation of privacy), and 67 (a) (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act) of Information Technology Act, which attracts imprisonment of up to five years and fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
More material found
Vijayan said, "We have recovered some material from Sunil and have handed it over to the court, which will officially hand it over for forensic analysis." When asked why the police had not handed it to the forensic laboratory directly, the officer said, "We do not want to derail this case in any manner and are taking all precautions to avoid that."
Fellow actor's role
When asked the role of a Malayalam film actor and his subsequent questioning, Vijayan said, "We have custody of Sunil for nine days and will be thoroughly interrogating him. We will look for evidence to confirm the conspiracy angle. We will now start working towards making a watertight case."
Preliminary inquiries have revealed that Sunil Pulsar is a drug addict and a case of drug peddling has been registered against him earlier. Also, so far, he has accepted his involvement in the crime stating that his intent was only to get money through blackmailing the actor.
However, unconfirmed reports have stated that Sunil was to abduct some other smalltime actor from the industry but got the survivor instead. This, the police have not been able to corroborate.