Vijay Babu, the Malayalam producer and actor, has been charged in a sexual assault case. A source from the Ernakulam South police station confirmed to Silverscreen India that a complaint has been filed against him and investigation in the matter is underway.
It has been reported that a female actor, a native of Kozhikode, filed the complaint on April 22, following which a case was registered.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, after news broke about the sexual assault allegation, the accused went live on Facebook and spoke about the matter.
Violating the law, Babu revealed the survivor’s identity by openly naming her. “I am not afraid of this because I have not made any mistakes. 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 person’s name come out too?” he said.
“Let this be a break to #MeToo,” he added. He further claimed that the complainant got an opportunity to act in his film after attending auditions and that he had never spoken to her at the time. He alleged that the woman messaged him several times and came to meet him as well. He also said that he has 400 screenshots of her messages with him and was ready to make it public.
Babu further added that he will be filing a counter defamation case against the actor.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the survivor said, via an anonymous post in a Facebook page named Women Against Sexual Harassment, that she has been working in the Malayalam film industry as an actor for the past few years. She said that Babu had physically abused and sexually exploited her between March 13 and April 14 this year.
“I have known him for a few years in the industry and we had worked on a movie together. During this time, he gained my trust by being friendly and gave me advice as I was a newcomer with no proper guidance in the industry. He helped me in my personal and professional problems but sexually exploited me under the guise of this. His modus operandi was to lure and trap me by playing the role of a saviour, friend and a lover, and thereafter, intoxicating and sexually abusing me,“ she added.
Further, the survivor said that whenever she was conscious, she had denied him consent, but he had disregarded her protests and had raped her several times. She also claimed that Babu had offered her roles in his upcoming projects and had made false promises of marriage to her.
She added that she was initially afraid to talk about this because of his influence in the industry. “He had recorded a nude video of mine and blackmailed me with it. He also threatened my life. I feared for my safety. But I am not keeping my mouth shut anymore. I can’t take this pain anymore. I strongly believe I will get justice for the sexual and physical assaults inflicted upon me by Vijay Babu.”
The survivor also stated that she would legally deal with all parties who victim-shamed or attacked her over this matter and those who would try to tarnish her image on social media and in public.
Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), an organisation created for women working in the Malayalam film industry, has condemned Babu for publically shaming the survivor. “While committees come and go, more such incidents continue to happen. WCC reiterates that crimes are being perpetrated here, under the guise of professional equations and in the professional space,” they stated.
WCC further mentioned that the right to arbitrate about who the victim is, rests with the judiciary and not anyone else. The organisation stressed that when the accused publicly shames a complainant, it is “deplorable and punishable by law.”
“Flaunting his online presence with such an act without turning himself in seems to be an attempt to mock the judicial system. WCC urges the authorities to take stringent action and hopes the Malayalam film industry will condemn these acts and clean up the workspace for women by distancing itself from the perpetrators,” they concluded.