Kerala high court grants pre-arrest bail to Babu in sexual assault case
The single Kerala high court bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas restrained Vijay Babu’s arrest till Thursday, the next hearing of his anticipatory bail plea in the sexual assault case.
The Kerala high court granted interim pre-arrest bail to rape accused actor-producer Vijay Babu on Tuesday and directed him to appear before it by June 2.
The single bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas restrained his arrest till Thursday, the next hearing of his anticipatory bail plea.
Babu’s counsel said the actor was willing to submit himself before the jurisdiction of the court, but he was apprehending arrest at the airport. Babu’s counsel also said he was ready to come on May 30 but postponed it further after police threatened that he would be arrested on arrival.
Babu, reported to be in Dubai, is planning to return to the country on Wednesday, people close to him said.
The high court also directed Babu to appear before the investigating officer (IO) of the case on June 2.
The court directed the Centre and the state government to communicate its order to the respective departments and listed the matter for hearing on June 2.
It also said that the IO could interrogate the actor when he appears before the officer.
“The court is of the view that merely because the petitioner is out of the country is no ground to consider his bail application,” it observed.
The court also asked the police why they failed to arrest the accused all these days.
But the prosecution opposed his bail plea and informed the court that his passport was cancelled, and a blue corner notice was also issued against him.
But the actor insisted that he was a victim of blackmailing.
On April 22, a female actor filed a complaint with Kochi police alleging that she was raped and beaten by Babu in a flat in the city.
Police registered a second case against Babu after he disclosed the complainant’s name on a Facebook live.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Babu has alleged that the rape case has been filed against him to blackmail him.
“Now the de facto complainant attempts to blackmail the petitioner by simply filing the complaint alleging that the petitioner forcefully sexually assaulted her,” Babu has said in his plea.
The producer-actor has also alleged in his plea, that there is a “trend” of making sexual allegations against anybody to tarnish the image of a person who is having popularity in the society and for the sake of publicity.
He has claimed that he was innocent and was “highly aggrieved” by the one-sided approach of the authorities to make him a “scapegoat for news and the media.”
Two days after the female actor’s complaint, Ernakulam South Police booked Babu under sections 376 (sexual assault), 323 (causing hurt), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Later, another case was slapped on him for revealing the identity of the complainant under IPC Section 228A.
He reportedly slipped out of the country through Mumbai airport and was later traced to the UAE.
Later in a live Facebook session, Babu denied charges and claimed he was in Dubai for some work and not absconding.
In the chat, he also said he knew the complainant since 2018 and gave her a chance to act in one of his films, adding that they were not in touch for over a year, and she was upset with not giving proper roles in other films.
He also claimed that his physical relationship with her was consensual.
With agency inputs