Earlier, on April 22, a female actor filed a complaint alleging that Babu had physically abused and sexually exploited her between March 13 and April 14, this year. On April 24, Babu fled to Dubai from Bengaluru. Soon after news broke about the sexual assault allegation, the accused also went live on Facebook and spoke about the matter. Violating the law, Babu revealed the survivor’s identity by openly naming her.
Following that, the accused moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail in the case. When the plea came up for hearing on Monday, Justice P Gopinath ordered the actor to submit his return air ticket to the court.
Representing the actor, counsel S Rajeev informed the court that he was ready to appear before it. However, the court refused to accept the statement and questioned whether the accused was in India. The council responded that the actor was abroad when the case was registered, and that he is ready to return.
The court had also directed the actor to make himself available to the jurisdiction of the court.
At this juncture, let’s look at the various developments that unfolded in the case since the day the survivor filed the complaint.
The survivor said that she has been working in the Malayalam film industry as an actor for the past few years, via an anonymous post in a Facebook page named Women Against Sexual Harassment.
“He helped me through 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.”
Soon after the news surrounding the complaint broke, Babu went live on Facebook and said, “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?”
“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 had 400 screenshots of her messages with him and was ready to make them public. Babu further added that he will be filing a counter defamation case against the actor.
Another woman accuses Babu of sexual misconduct
A few days after the first allegation came forth, another woman accused Babu of sexual misconduct. She alleged that Babu was drunk and attempted to kiss her without her consent, when nobody was around. “I just stopped taking efforts to enter the Malayalam film industry after this, which was a dream for me until then.” She added that removing or punishing people like him would help break the image that the film industry is “not safe for women.”
However, no further police complaint was filed against him.
Babu absconds to Dubai
Meanwhile, Kochi City Police Commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam confirmed that Babu had fled to Dubai from Bengaluru on April 24. The commissioner further said that Babu had not returned as yet, but they are expecting him to surrender before the law.
Babu had reportedly sent an e-mail to the police, seeking time until May 19 to appear for interrogation, informing them that he was abroad for business. When the police responded to the e-mail and directed him to share his location, Babu did not respond to it, the Commissioner had said.
Three members quit ICC, after AMMA fails to take action against Babu
In light of the rape case against Babu, the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has urged the government to take measures to ensure the survivor’s safety, who is currently being attacked on social media. WCC also demanded that film bodies suspend the accused’s membership in their respective organisations.
It may be noted that Babu was elected late last year as an executive committee member of AMMA for the 2021-2024 term. In the wake of rape allegations against the producer, the pressure was mounted on the organisation to take actions on this matter.
However, AMMA once again repeated its history of adhering to patriarchal behaviour. Instead of suspending Babu, the organisation announced that the actor had written to them stating that he wanted to stay away from the executive committee, in light of the allegations levelled against him.
In her resignation letter, Menon, who was the presiding officer of the ICC, said that she believed there was no relevance for the committee at the organisation.
Noting that the members of ICC recommended suspending the accused, Parvathi said, “I thought the executive committee would consider this. The press release issued by AMMA said that Babu has volunteered to stay away from the association, but it does not mention that the association had sought a resignation letter from him. This is not disciplinary action. I doubt if this sends out the right message to society.”
Police issue Extradition Notice and impound Babu’s passport
On May 5, a Blue Corner notice was issued to the Interpol to extradite the accused. This is an enquiry notice issued to track, identify or obtain information about an absconding accused, and it is issued to the country where the criminal is currently suspected to be hiding.
Following which, a few weeks after, the actor-producer’s passport was impounded on May 20, owing to his failure to surrender before the law.
CH Nagaraju, Kochi City Police Commissioner, had told Silverscreen India, earlier that the police department has asked the External Affairs Ministry to inform the embassy of the accused’s destination country to cancel his visa, as well. “Once the passport is impounded, the visa also gets cancelled. So, if the destination country cancels his visa, they can deport him back to India. Besides, we are also getting information that he is likely to have fled Dubai,” he added.
After impounding the passport, the police said that they will be issuing a Red Corner notice if the accused doesn’t surrender before Tuesday. Meanwhile, there are recent updates that Babu, who had fled to Georgia, has returned to Dubai and is likely to surrender to the Kerala police, soon.