(Trigger warning: rape, assault, violence)
As Vijay Babu, Malayalam actor-producer who has been accused in a case of sexual assault, awaits his anticipatory bail orders at the high court, an older petition, filed by his wife in May 2018, has surfaced.
The petition, asking for a restraining order, alleges that Vijay had physically assaulted his wife on multiple occasions, under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Sources say, this petition was used by the prosecution, in the 2022 case of sexual assault, to oppose Vijay’s bail plea.
The survivor in the 2022 case – a young woman actor – had alleged that Vijay presented his marriage as a practically dead one, and that he did not maintain a good relationship with his wife for the last eight years, but continued in the marriage only for the sake of the child.
But in his bail plea, Vijay Babu maintained that he led a happy married life. In this context, the prosecution has submitted the petition for a restraining order against Vijay, filed by his wife in 2018, before the court.
Vijay and the petitioner got married in August 2000 and have a child from the marriage. The wife alleges in her 2018 petition that Vijay, with the passage of time, had got addicted to prohibited drugs such as cannabis and liquor while also maintaining “unholy relationships, adulterous in nature with women.”
The petition also mentions another infamous case, when Vijay’s then co-producer Sandra Thomas had alleged that he physically assaulted her. It also says that the case was settled by providing monetary compensation which led Vijay to think that “he could escape from the consequences of any criminal act, with money power.”
It has to be noted that there were allegations that a person linked to Vijay Babu offered Rs 1 crore in the 2022 case of sexual assault to the survivor actor who lodged the complaint against him, in an attempt to get her to withdraw the case.
There are more echoes of the new case in the four year old petition – such as Vijay’s alleged assaultive behaviour towards the victims. The survivor actor had written in a post on the Facebook page Women against Sexual Harassment, that Vijay not only sexually assaulted her, but physically abused her several times and threatened her life.
In the 2018 petition, Vijay’s wife alleges similar assaults – “once the respondent (Vijay) is high on liquor and drugs, he loses his cognitive facilities and he finds a sadistic pleasure in assaulting the petitioner physically, most often in the presence of the minor child.”
The wife said in her petition that she had thought of approaching the police but was discouraged by Vijay’s mother and siblings. However, Vijay still continued his “activities,” she said. He further destroyed the furniture of the house and smashed her phone, she said.
She also alleged that he began finding reasons to assault her every so often – when she refused to resign her job, when he didn’t like what she cooked, when he fought with his friends and took it out on her. She was not even allowed proper sleep, she said.
The petition stated that she reached a breaking point when Vijay “brutally assaulted” her “in a drunken stupor, all over her body” when she was sleeping on a couch.
Most of the blows were on her face, she said, and she suffered injuries on her jawbones and ear and had to seek medical treatment. Vijay was able to stifle the filing of an FIR then, even though she went to the police, she alleged.
Like in the instance of the survivor actor, she too was threatened to withdraw the case. After the survivor actor filed her complaint in April 2022, another woman had also alleged a similar experience of sexual assault from Vijay, when she approached him to discuss a film project.