Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday strict action will be taken against the attackers who allegedly abducted a popular south cinema actor in Kochi and molested her, taking pictures and videos before letting her off.
“It is an unfortunate incident. It should not have been happened. Police are looking into the case seriously and stern action will be taken against those responsible for it,” Vijayan said in Delhi.
Kerala police chief Loknath Behra said a special investigation team has been constituted to probe into incident. “A person has already been arrested and we are closing in on others,” he said.
The incident took place when the actor was reportedly returning home from a film shoot. The gang forcibly boarded her car when it stopped near a traffic signal and molested her for almost two hours inside the vehicle, police said.
The 30-year-old actress lodged a police complaint later in the night.
The actor has worked in more than 75 films in several languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. She made her acting debut when she was 16 years old.
The police arrested Martin, who was allegedly driving the actor’s car. After examining his call log, they found he was in constant touch with Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni, now identified as the main accused.
“We have identified five persons in connection with the case. The incident is suspected to be a conspiracy to blackmail the actress,” said a senior police officer of Kochi. The actor later underwent a medical test.
Sunil Kumar, who has several criminal charges against him, was a temporary driver. The actor had complained about his rude behaviour previously.
After the attack, the accused fled in another car and the actor sought refuge in a director friend’s house.
In her complaint, she said she was physically assaulted, and gang members forcibly took photos and recorded a video, threatening to post them on social media if she went to the police.
A popular dubbing artiste, Bhagyalakshmi, said she tried contacting the actor after the incident but found her mobile switched off.
“This is the first time that a Mollywood artist is facing such a situation. It’s quite normal for stars like her to travel at ungodly hours after work,” she told Malayayam Manorama, referring to a term used to describe the Malayalam film industry.
“It’s not the matter of a celebrity, it’s the matter of being a woman. This incident shows that our girls are no longer safe. It’s a case of shame and shock,” she added.