The Kerala High Court on Tuesday told the police not to arrest Malayalam actor and producer Vijay Babu till June 2 after he returns to India, PTI reported.
Babu has been accused of raping a woman, who is also an actor, after promising her roles in films. The 46-year-old actor and producer has been in Dubai since the police filed a case April 26.
Babu’s lawyer on Tuesday told the court that his client will land in Kochi from Dubai on June 1. The High Court then granted Babu interim relief from arrest till June 2 and posted the matter for hearing on the same date.
Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, however, allowed the police to interrogate the actor. The judge passed the directions while hearing an anticipatory bail petition filed by Babu.
The court noted that the accused actor was willing to come back to India but feared that he would be arrested immediately upon arrival, according to Bar and Bench.
“It augurs well, in the interest of the investigation as well as the victim, that the accused submits himself to the jurisdiction of the investigating team,” the court said. “...In the interest of the victim, the investigation and the petitioner, it is necessary that the petitioner is protected for a limited period of time.”
At previous hearings, Gracious Kurakose, the prosecution’s lawyer, had contended that Babu was not entitled to any relief as he was absconding.
However, the judge said that Babu would remain elusive if the court refused interim bail for him. He added that if the prosecution was really working in the interest of the complainant, it would want the 46-year-old actor to return to India.
“Has this turned into an ego clash?” the court asked the prosecution, according to Bar and Bench. “Are you doing this for the media? That is the impression I am gathering from your opposition to grant of even interim bail for two or three days.”
The complainant has alleged that Babu sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions on the pretext of offering roles in films.
On April 26, Babu went live on his Facebook page and refuted the allegations against him. He also revealed the name of the complainant.
Revealing the identity of a woman who has been raped is punishable under Indian Penal Code Section 228A.
Babu was initially charged under Sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code. After he put out the Facebook post, the police filed a separate case against him under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code.