The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to Malayalam actor-producer Vijay Babu in an alleged rape case by the high court, and asked him not to leave Kerala without prior permission. A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari modified certain bail conditions imposed on Babu by the high court and said that he could be interrogated by the police in connection with the case after July 3, if required. The bench also asked him not to influence any witness or tamper with any evidence and not harass the victim with any social media posts. On Tuesday, the bench had agreed to hear pleas of the Kerala government and an actress, who has alleged rape by Babu challenging the grant of anticipatory bail to him by the high court.
On June 22, the high court had granted anticipatory bail to Babu.
The high court had granted Babu relief subject to the conditions that he shall ”surrender” before the investigating officer (IO) on June 27 for interrogation.
He can be interrogated for the next seven days from then till July 3 and he shall not contact or interact with the victim or any of the witnesses in the case, it had said.
The other conditions imposed on him by the court were that he ”shall not indulge in any form of attack through social media or other modes against the victim or her family”, not leave Kerala, and if a fresh passport has been issued to him, to surrender the same.
The court had further said that if the IO intends to arrest Babu, he shall be released on bail on his executing a bond of Rs 5 lakh along with two sureties of the same amount.
During the period from June 27 to July 3, he shall be deemed to be under the custody of police ”for facilitating the requirements of investigation”, the court had said allowing his plea seeking anticipatory bail in the rape case.
The police had opposed his plea, saying the practice of filing applications for bail sitting outside the country should not be entertained.
The court had not accepted the contention as it was of the view that an application for pre-arrest bail can be filed even by a person residing outside the country.
The court had granted him interim protection from arrest on May 31 and since then it was being extended from time to time.
In his plea before the high court, Babu had alleged that the rape case has been filed to blackmail him.
He has been accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a female actor and disclosing the victim’s identity through a Facebook live session.
The producer-actor had also alleged in his plea, that there is a ”trend” of making allegations against anybody to tarnish the image of a person, who is popular in society and for the sake of publicity.
Babu had claimed 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”.
The woman, who had appeared in movies produced by Babu’s production house, lodged a complaint with the police on April 22 and detailed through a Facebook post the physical assault and sexual exploitation she had allegedly suffered at the hands of the producer-actor for the past one-and-half months.