kidnap.. Image Source: IANS News

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24 : The Malayalam actress abduction case took a new turn on Tuesday with an aide to an actor-turned-legislator being arrested from Kerala's Kollam district.

Police from Bekal in Kasargode district came to Kollam and took into custody Pradip Kumar, a staffer of ruling LDF legislator K.B.Ganesh Kumar, for trying to influence approver Vipin Lal at his home town in Kasargode early this year.

Meanwhile, Vipin Lal said that Pradip Kumar is only "a small fry".

"A probe has to take place on this conspiracy as Kumar is only a small fry... there are big fishes behind this," he said.

A court in Kasargode had on Monday refused anticipatory bail to Pradip Kumar and hours later, he was taken into custody.

The actress was abducted and assaulted in a moving car in Kochi on February 17, 2017.

Hugely popular Malayalam film actor Dileep was arrested in July 2017 in connection with the case and spent several weeks in jail before securing bail.

Dileep has been named as a conspirator in the case and been charged with "revenge crime".

Since securing bail, he has been allegedly trying to delay the trial in the case, through legal submissions, even before the apex court.

Incidentally, this case even rocked the smooth functioning of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) wherein a group of woman actors raised a banner of revolt in the way it had handled the issue.

This new development came at a time when in a setback to the Kerala government and the victim in the actress abduction case, the High Court last week declined to order the case be shifted from the special court, set up under a woman judge, to another court.

Now all eyes are on when the trial court is all set to resume the trial proceedings in the case.

This new development might have some repercussions for Dileep.

In the trial that began early this year, the court has by now examined close to 200 witnesses, even as the apex court had directed that there should be no more delays and that the verdict be positively delivered in January 2021.

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