Kochi: The Kerala high court on Monday allowed the plea of a south Indian actress to appoint a woman judge for conducting the trial in the case. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan ordered CBI special court Judge-III Ernakulam Honey M Varghese to complete the trial expeditiously.

Dileep's counsel opposed the plea and contended that the actress needs no special privilege. The court, however, did not accept his contention and observed that the actress has a legal right to make such a prayer.

She had moved the high court after the Ernakulam sessions court order rejected her plea to transfer the case to a sessions court headed by a woman judge to conduct the trial. It was dismissed then on the ground that no woman additional sessions judge was available in Ernakulam district.

Dileep was arrested on July 10, 2017, and granted bail on October 3 after 85 days in custody. The Kerala high court had granted him bail with stringent conditions.
Seven persons, including key accused 'Pulsar' Suni, were arrested in connection with the actress abduction case. The actress, who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was abducted and allegedly molested inside her car for two hours by the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017, and later escaped in a busy area. 

With PTI inputs