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Vijay Babu has been granted anticipatory bail in the alleged rape case

The Kerala High Court has granted anticipatory bail to the actor-producer, Vijay Babu, in the alleged rape case.

An FIR was registered against Vijay Babu in the month of April by an actress. It was alleged that the petitioner (Vijay Babu) had committed rape on the victim with the promise of marriage, twice during her menstrual periods and on other occasions after causing physical injuries and without her consent. It was further alleged that the petitioner had fled abroad once he got to know about the registration of the FIR and then instituted this bail application under Section 483 of the Cr.P.C.

The Petitioners have stated that the allegations are totally false. These proceedings are the “machination of the victim” who was upset as she was not cast in the movie. It was further argued that the relationship was consensual and it has been projected as rape. The petitioner had gone on a pre-planned trip and had returned to Kerala. The High Court had issued an interim order to not arrest the petitioner once the petitioner had subjected himself to the jurisdiction of the court.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the prosecution and the counsel appearing on behalf of the victim have vehemently argued by relying on a number of judgments as to why the petitioner should not be granted the bail. They have said that it would prejudice the investigation and send a wrong signal to society. They further said that even though the petitioner came out in open through a Facebook live, however, he had revealed the identity of the victim and threatened her.

A lot of technical evidence was submitted which included WhatsApp messages between the victim and the petitioner. On one hand, the petitioner said that the chats reveal the nature of their relationship, on the other hand, the prosecution said that some of the messages were deleted.

The Court after hearing both sides observed that this was an application for anticipatory bail which dealt with the liberty of an individual given under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Kerala High Court relied on the Supreme Court judgments and observed that no restriction has been placed on filing an anticipatory bail while residing in another country, on the apprehension of the arrest. The Court analyzed the situation and observed that the petitioner cannot flee away from the country as his passport has been impounded, he has submitted 2 of his mobile phones which have been sent to the forensic team, the chats reveal an intense relationship between the petitioner and the survivor and to date do not mention anything about sexual assault, the deleted chats can be retrieved, the petitioner has been questioned for 38 hours and will cooperate with further investigation.

Hence the Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner with the following restrictions:

“Accordingly, I allow this application for pre-arrest bail on the following conditions:
(1) The petitioner shall surrender before the Investigating Officer on 27-06-2022 at 09.00 AM for
interrogation.
(2) The petitioner can be interrogated for the next seven days i.e; from 27-06-2022 till 03-07-2022 (inclusive) from 09.00 AM till 06.00 PM every day, if required. The petitioner shall be deemed to be under custody during the aforesaid period for facilitating the requirements of investigation.
(3) If the Investigating Officer intends to arrest the petitioner, then he shall be released on bail on the petitioner executing a bond for Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakhs only) with two solvent sureties each for the like sum before the Investigating Officer.
(4) Petitioner shall appear before the Investigating Officer as and when called for.

(5) Petitioner shall not contact or interact with the victim or any of the witnesses.

(6) Petitioner shall not indulge in any form of attack through the social media or other modes against the victim or her family.
(7) Petitioner shall not leave the State of Kerala without prior permission of the jurisdictional court and shall co-operate with the investigation.
(8) Petitioner shall not commit any other offence while he is on bail.
(9) Though petitioner’s passport has been impounded, he shall surrender his passport as and when he is issued with a fresh one or if the impounding is cancelled, as the case may be.”

The Court also held that the nuances of ‘consent’ under the Indian Penal Code or of ‘rape’ are not to be deliberated upon at this stage, lest it prejudices either side, at the time of trial.

Case: Vijay Babu vs State of Kerala

https://hckinfo.kerala.gov.in/digicourt/Casedetailssearch/fileviewtoken=MjAwODAwMDM0NzUyMDIyXzEwLnBkZg==&lookups=b3JkZXJzLzIwMjI=

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