Bhavana Menon- Dileep sexual assault case: A timeline of events

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jan 12, 2022, 08:06 PM(IST)

File image of Bhavana Menon and Dileep Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Many extended support to Bhavana Menon for breaking her silence and speaking up about her abduction and sexual assault which was reportedly done on the behest of prominent Malayalam actor Dileep. 

As south Indian actress Bhavana Menon opened up about her alleged abduction and assault case that took place 5 years ago, she received unprecedented support and solidarity from actors, directors, technicians of the Malayalam film industry. Some of the prominent names in the Hindi film industry too extended support to Menon for breaking her silence and speaking up about the incident which was reportedly done on the behest of prominent Malayalam actor Dileep. 

The actor, a prominent name in the industry,  was accused of being the mastermind of the conspiracy that led to the assault. Back when Dileep was first named in the case, several in the Kerala film industry chose to support Dileep and in the process suppressed the survivor's voice and even isolated those in the industry who chose to stand by her.

Earlier this week, Menon issued a strong statement on her Instagram page and wrote, "For 5 years now, my name and my identity have been suppressed under the weight of the assault inflicted on me. Though I am not the one who has committed the crime, there have been many attempts to humiliate, silence and isolate me. But at such times I have had some who stepped forward to keep my voice alive. Now when I hear so many voices speak up for me I know that I am not alone in this fight for justice. To see justice prevail, to get wrongdoers punished and to ensure no one else goes through such an ordeal again, I shall continue this journey. For all those who are standing with me – a heartfelt thank you for your love."

Here's a quick look at the timeline in Bhavana Menon- Dileep sexual assault case.

February 17, 2017: Bhavana Menon was abducted and sexually assaulted by a group of men in a moving car outside Kochi. The men also recorded the assault. She is dropped off at actor-director Lal’s house after two hours. 
Menon claims she knew one of the assaulter- a man named Pulsar Suni, who worked as a driver for several actors in the industry. 

Menon files a complaint on the same day and an FIR is registered by the police. 

February 19, 2017: The police nab three of the seven accused in the case. However, prime accused Sunil Kumar, alias Pulsar Suni, is on the run.

February 23, 2017: Pulsar Suni and another accused, Vijeesh, are arrested. A day earlier, a lawyer handed over a mobile phone and memory device to the Angamaly magistrate which contained the visuals of the assault.

February 26, 2017: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is slammed by the Opposition for suggesting that there is no conspiracy in the case as alleged by the survivor. 

May 18, 2017: The Women in Cinema Collective is formed by Menon's friends in the industry to show their solidarity to her as well as highlight the various issues concerning women professionals in the Malayalam industry. The group meets Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and submits a petition asking for swift action in the case.

The police meanwhile investigate whether Pulsar Suni and his gang acted on their own or were hired by someone to attack Menon.

June 23, 2017: Reports suggest that the police are set to reopen the case. Jinson, a prison inmate of Pulsar Suni at Kakkanad sub-jail, has disclosed that the latter had shared with him some details about the crime. This is viewed as a major twist in the case.

June 24, 2017: A letter purportedly sent by Pulsar Suni to actor Dileep surfaces. One of the biggest stars of the Malayalam film industry, Dileep had worked with Menon is several films earlier. He was also married previously to actress Manju Warrier, who is known to a close friend of Bhavana Menon.

As the letter surfaces, Dileep and his close friend, director Nadirsha, tell a TV channel that they had received a phone call from a person claiming to be Suni’s prison mate demanding Rs 1.5 crore to not reveal Dileep’s name in the case.

June 26, 2017: In an interview with a TV channel, Dileep blames Bhavana Menon for the sexual assault, indicating that she had been friends with Pulsar Suni.

June 28, 2017: Dileep and Nadirsha are questioned for nearly 13 hours by the investigating team. 

July 10, 2017: SIT arrests Dileep and named as the mastermind of the crime. The motive for the crime is said to be revenge since Bhavana Menon was among Dileep's then wife Manju Warrier's friends and had reportedly informed her about his alleged affair with co-star Kavya Madhavan. Dileep and Kavya later got married in 2016, after his divorce with Manju.

July 11, 2017: The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) expels Dileep but after much pressure and public uproar.

September 10, 2017: Triggered by the open support to Dileep by several members of the Malayalam film industry,  WCC launch the ‘Avakoppam’ (With Her) campaign on social media to express their solidarity towards Menon. Several prominent actresses and filmmakers of Kerala film industry join the protest. 

October 3, 2017: After several attempts and after spending 85 days in jail, Dileep is granted bail.

November 22, 2017: The investigating team files the subsidiary charge sheet at the Angamaly Magistrate Court.
Running into 650 pages, it names 12 accused in the case, Dileep being the eighth accused. It makes his former wife and leading actor, Manju Warrier, a key witness.

December 5, 2017: The court accepts the charge sheet. Over the course of the month, more than 50 people from the Malayalam film industry are witnesses in the case.

January 20, 2018: Dileep requests the court for a copy of the sexual assault video. He states he wants to watch it to prove he has been framed in the case.

February 7, 2018: The court rejects Dileep’s plea to access visuals of the assault. Dileep goes to the High Court and Supreme Court asking for the visual, both reject his plea. SC rejects it in November 2019.

June 25, 2018: Mohanlal is appointed as the President of AMMA. The body decides to reinstate Dileep. 

June 28, 2018: Dileep declines AMMA’s invite to rejoin. 

November 2019: The trial in the case began in November but it is halted after Menon approached the HC, seeking to shift the trial to another court. The prosecution alleges that the trial court judge was biased throughout the trial. 

January 6, 2020: The trial court framed charges against Dileep, Pulsar Suni and eight other accused. 

January 30, 2020: Nearly three years since the crime was committed- trial on the case begins.

September 18, 2020: Several witnesses in the case turn hostile, including actors Bhamaa, Sidhique, Edavela Babu and Bindu Panniker.

October 28, 2020: Menon moves Kerala HC, asking for judge Honey M Varghese to be changed due to her alleged hostile and biased attitude. HC rejects her petition.

December 2, 2020: Kerala government moves SC, asking for the judge to be changed.

December 15, 2020: The SC rejects the Kerala government’s plea.

January 4, 2021: A new SPP, VN Anilkumar, is appointed in the case.

December 25, 2021: Prominent filmmaker Balachandrakumar, a former friend of Dileep’s, makes several allegations against the actor. He claims that Dileep was in possession of the visuals of the assault well before he watched them at the Magistrate’s court. He releases several voice clips that could be incriminating for Dileep. In one of the clips male voices can be heard discussing an attack on the police officers investigating the case. Balachandrakumar also mentions a ‘VIP’ who allegedly helped Dileep in the case. 

January 4, 2022: Dileep writes to the DGP, asking to stop further probe into the case.

January 5, 2022: Kerala government asks SC for a six-month extension to finish the trial in light of recent developments. The trial court had asked for further probe to be completed by January 20.

January 7, 2022: Kerala government forms a new investigation team 

January 9, 2022: Police file new FIR against Dileep over audio clips submitted by Balachandrakumar.

January 10, 2022: Dileep seeks anticipatory bail.

January 10, 2022: Bhavana Menon posts about her struggle from her Instagram account, revealing her identity for the first time. Many from the Malayalam film industry share her post, expressing their solidarity with her.

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