The High Court observed that it will help the investigation if Vijay Babu is in Kerala, and he will not return unless assured that he will not be arrested immediately.

Vijay Babu in mustard t shirt and beard and head phones looking sideways
Flix Court Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 17:06

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday, May 31, granted interim pre-arrest bail for two days to rape-accused actor and producer Vijay Babu to enable him to travel back to India from Dubai to join the investigation. The judge said that the court does not appreciate the fact that the actor fled the country immediately after he was named in the rape case, but since Vijay Babu has expressed willingness to come to India if he is granted protection from arrest, the court will consider his request for interim bail. The court observed that it will help the investigation if Vijay Babu is in Kerala and not abroad and elusive.

“If I refuse to grant him interim bail now, he will remain abroad and elusive. That is why I'm asking why you (police) haven't been able to arrest him so far,” Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, who was hearing the case, said. 

Vijay Babu had earlier informed the court that he would come to India on May 30. This was after the court said that his plea for anticipatory bail could be considered only if he submitted the travel documents proving he will return. However, he cancelled the plan after apparently realising that the police would arrest him as soon he returned. 

The judge asked the police if it wasn’t better that they got the matter settled first. “Now we are searching in the dark. You are arguing that it is not maintainable but even if that is allowed, you are portraying an attitude that you will arrest him from the airport itself if he lands.”

Vijay Babu had fled the country soon after a complaint of sexual assault was made by a young woman actor he has worked with. Soon, he put out a Facebook live video, denying the allegations and even naming the survivor, which against the law. 

Hearing his bail plea on Tuesday, the judge said, “I'm not appreciating his conduct of fleeing the country as soon as he knew a crime was registered against him. But now that he is willing to come down, I want to give him a chance.” The police too would want him to come down, in the interests of the victim, he added. 

However, the judge added that he “stands corrected” if Vijay Babu has not expressed his willingness to return to India. The actor’s passport was impounded a few weeks ago, to get him to come back to the country. Justice Bechu asked Vijay’s lawyer how could he then travel to India, to which advocate S Rajeev, appearing for the actor, said that Vijay could travel using certain documents. 

The judge then asked the police if they were not wasting time by opposing the bail, because that seemed to prevent the accused actor from travelling to India. “Aren't you benefited if he comes down to Kerala? Wouldn't the victim be benefitted? Aren't these the questions we should be asking? She will get a fair trial,” the judge said, granting two days of interim bail to Vijay. 

Vijay has been asked to appear before the court upon his arrival. Judge Bechu added that he may dismiss the bail two days later and the police may nab him then. “You don't have to go to CBI or Interpol,” he said. In his bail plea, Vijay had alleged that the police are under pressure to arrest him because of media reports. He requested the court to grant him bail under Section 438 of CrPC (direction for grant of bail for person apprehending arrest).

Also read: Vijay Babu sexual assault case: Survivor was allegedly offered money to withdraw complaint

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