The Kerala High Court has dismissed actor Dileep's plea opposing further probe in the 2017 actress assault case and permitted the Crime Branch to go ahead with the investigation.

The order was passed by Justice Kauser Edappagath who said that the investigating agency has to complete the further probe as expeditiously as possible and not later than April 15.

The actor, represented by Senior Advocate B Raman Pillai had contended that the further investigation was a "sham" and an attempt to further delay the trial of the case.

Dileep had also contended that further investigation in that case was not permissible as a final report had been filed in November 2017, charges were framed in January 2020 and only one prosecution witness, one of the investigating officers remained to be examined.

Opposing his plea, the police represented by Director General of Prosecution (DGP) T A Shaji and Additional Public Prosecutor P Narayanan had told the Court that there was no legal bar or impediment in carrying out further investigation in the 2017 actress assault case merely because the trial was at its fag end and added that no prior permission was required for it.

The prosecution had said that the further probe can be carried out anytime before delivery of verdict, if any fresh material or evidence comes to light.

The victim, who was allowed to be a part of the proceedings by the court, had also supported the prosecution's decision to carry out further probe saying that she wants a fair trial and the truth behind the incident needs to be revealed.

The actress-victim, who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films, was abducted and allegedly molested in her car for two hours by some persons who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later escaped in a busy area. The entire act was filmed by those persons to blackmail the actress.

There are 10 accused in the 2017 case and police have arrested seven. Dileep was arrested subsequently and released on bail.

With PTI inputs