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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Malayalam film star Dileep arrested for kidnap and assault of actress

'I am not scared of anyone, as I have not committed any crime,' says Dileep as he was being transferred to jail where he will be in judicial custody for 14 days

Indian actor Dileep in a still from the movie 'Mr Marumakan'. Dileep was arrested on July 10, 2017 over his suspected connection to the kidnap and assault of an Indian actress. Courtesy Varnachitra Big Screen
Indian actor Dileep in a still from the movie 'Mr Marumakan'. Dileep was arrested on July 10, 2017 over his suspected connection to the kidnap and assault of an Indian actress. Courtesy Varnachitra Big Screen

The Malayalam film star Dileep has protested his innocence after being arrested in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of an actress in February.

“I am not scared of anyone, as I have not committed any crime… I was trapped,” Dileep, who uses only one name, said on Tuesday, a day after his arrest, as he was being transferred to the Aluva sub-jail where he will remain in judicial custody for 14 days.

No charges have been filed against the actor yet. Judicial custody enables police officials to continue questioning him without giving him any chance to flee their jurisdiction. A magistrate will consider his bail application on Wednesday.

Before his arrest, Dileep had been extensively questioned as part of the police’s probe into a conspiracy to abduct and molest an actress, who remains unnamed under Indian law to protect her privacy. The actress was kidnapped by a group of men while she was driving from Thrissur to Kochi in February.

In her police complaint, she said she was molested in a moving vehicle, and that photographs and videos were taken of her, before she was let off after two hours. The police arrested two other men in February and charged them with carrying out the crime.

Protests against Dileep broke out in Kochi and Aluva as news of his arrest emerged. Outside the Aluva Police Club, where Dileep was interrogated and lodged for a night on Monday, crowds applauded as television reporters delivered their pieces to camera about the arrest.

In Kochi, a crowd gathered outside a restaurant owned by Dileep, forcing the police to shut the restaurant down for the evening. Elsewhere in the city, a group of Bharatiya Janata Party cadre burned an effigy of the actor, while another group of Congress party workers conducted a protest march to D-Cinemas, a multiplex owned by Dileep.

Crowds raised slogans against Dileep outside the magistrate’s residence where he was produced on Tuesday, and then near the jail in Aluva. “Welcome to Central Jail!” the crowds shouted, a reference to the actor’s 2016 movie of that name.

Also on Tuesday, Dileep was formally expelled from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, a trade body that came under heavy criticism for choosing to defend him earlier in the investigation.

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