The National Commission for Women on Monday summoned Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra over the alleged abduction and assault of a popular Malayalam actor, hours after three accused in the case moved the Kerala high court seeking anticipatory bail.
“It is a shocking incident. We will seek a report from the DGP and review the probe,” said commission chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam.
Police were caught completely off guard on Monday when the accused move the high court amid a massive manhunt across the state to nab them.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan sought an action taken report over the incident after convening a meeting of the district collectors and top police officials.
In the bail plea, the trio denied their role in the incident and claimed police were “hounding them” without any reason. The court will hear their plea on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old actor was returning to Kochi from a film shoot in Thrissur on Friday night when a seven-member gang abducted and allegedly sexually assaulted her for nearly two hours in her car.
Martin, the driver of the car, and two others were nabbed by police hours after the incident, but the main accused, including kingpin Pulsar Suni, are still at large. Suni is a known history-sheeter.
In Alapuzha, one person was arrested for helping Suni.
The actor in her complaint said her car was hit from the rear by a van at Athani near Aluva. As her driver stopped the car, an argument ensued, and occupants of the van forcibly boarded her car and took control of it.
She said she was assaulted for more than two hours. She said they also took photographs of her.
After being dumped, she approached a film producer who in turn alerted police.
The incident evoked strong protest from Mollywood, Bollywood, political parties and civil society.
“Anybody going to do anything about the safety of women in the country? Heart broken,” wrote Shradha Kapoor in her post.
“How do we make our women safe? Does anyone in the government have an answer?” tweeted Arjun Kapoor, expressing shock and anger.
Malayalam film artistes held a meeting in Kochi on Sunday over the incident.
Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi demanded the Pinarayi-led Left front government in the state be dismissed.
“There is no governance in Kerala. Women and children are at the receiving end. The state is a fit case for President’s rule,” she told a Malayalam channel in New Delhi.
Police suspect that the gang might have adopted similar modus operandi even in the past to assault women.
Over Friday’s incident, the state intelligence department has prepared a list of 2,010 persons with criminal background and efforts are on to nab them.
All the accused involved in the incident are notorious criminals, police sources claimed.
The Congress and the BJP asked the CM to give up the home portfolio immediately as he “failed to handle it effectively”.
The Tamil Nadigar Sangam also condemned the incident. “If a celebrity can face such a situation we can well imagine the plight of the ordinary women,” said Sangam general secretary Vishal in Chennai.
In the wake of the shocking incident, the state intelligence department prepared a list of 2010 persons with criminal background and efforts are on to nab them in a massive crackdown against anti-social elements.