A day after the Kerala High Court granted interim pre-arrest bail for two days to rape-accused actor and producer Vijay Babu, he arrived at Kochi International Airport on Wednesday morning, 1 June. Vijay Babu has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman actor, who filed a complaint on 22 April. However, Vijay Babu had been on the run ever since the complaint was filed and returned to India on Wednesday from Dubai.
Vijay Babu had earlier informed the court that he would come to India on 30 May. This was after the court said that his plea for anticipatory bail could be considered only if he submitted the travel documents proving he will return. However, he cancelled the plan after apparently realising that the police would arrest him as soon as he returned.
“If I refuse to grant him interim bail now, he will remain abroad and elusive. That is why I'm asking why you (police) haven't been able to arrest him so far,” Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, who was hearing the case on Tuesday, said. The judge also said that the court does not appreciate the fact that the actor fled the country immediately after he was named in the rape case.
However, since Vijay Babu expressed willingness to come to India if he is granted protection from arrest, the court said it would consider his request for interim bail. The court observed that it will help the investigation if Vijay Babu is in Kerala and not abroad and elusive.
The Case So Far
The woman filed a police complaint against Vijay Babu on 22 April, and had also put out the details of the physical assault and sexual exploitation she had allegedly faced at the hands of the producer-actor on Facebook. In the detailed post, the survivor alleged that he would physically, emotionally, and sexually exploit her and that this allegedly continued for months.
While Vijay Babu was on the run after the rape complaint, he appeared on a live Facebook video on 26 April where he disclosed the identity of the survivor, in clear violation of the law. "I respect the law of the land but here I am the victim and my name has come out. So why shouldn't the other party's name come out too," he asked.
Meanwhile, the survivor also alleged that a friend of Vijay called and offered her Rs 1 crore to withdraw the case, which she refused.
On 24 May, Vijay Babu, while submitting his tickets to court, also submitted a representation in which he alleged that the survivor filed the complaint to blackmail him. In his interlocutory application, he claimed that their relationship was consensual and that the problem between them started after he decided to cast another actor in his upcoming film. He also claimed in his plea that he was innocent and was "highly aggrieved" by the one-sided approach of the authorities to make him a "scapegoat for the purpose of news and the media."
Vijay Babu has now been asked to appear before the court upon his arrival, and the judge also said that he may dismiss the bail two days later and the police may nab him then.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)