Lawyers Pratheesh Chacko and Raju Joseph, who were arrested in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of an actor in February 2017, have been acquitted by the Kerala High Court on Wednesday. Pratheesh and his assistant Raju were the lawyers to initially represent the main accused in the case, Pulsar Suni. They were arrested in July 2017 on charges of harbouring a fugitive and destruction of evidence.
The Kerala High Court observed that the two lawyers could not be charged with harbouring a fugitive as they were merely carrying out their jobs and duties as lawyers in conferring with Pulsar Suni. As part of their jobs, lawyers are often forced to confer with those accused in criminal cases before they are arrested or surrender, and those meetings cannot be termed as harbouring a fugitive.
Pratheesh and Raju were charged with destroying the mobile phone on which Pulsar Suni had recorded visuals of the attack on the actor. However, the Court opined that there was not sufficient legally admissible evidence against them to prove this charge.
The memory card containing the video recording of the assault was handed over to the Angamaly Judicial Magistrate by an Angamaly-Aluva based lawyer, who allegedly received the video recording from Pulsar Suni. The mobile phone in question, which Pulsar Suni told police he threw in a gutter, then later said he threw in a lake, remains untraced.
Actor Dileep, who is named as the mastermind behind the plot to abduct and sexually assault the female actor, has been on a focused legal quest to obtain a physical copy of the video visuals of the attack on the actor. This request is currently being heard by the Supreme Court, and had previously been denied by the Angamaly Magistrate Court and the Kerala High Court. The Kerala High Court had stated that Dileep’s demand for a copy of the video recording was a delaying tactic to hinder the progression of the case.