Hours after being arrested and released on bail following accusations of sexual assault, South Indian actor and producer Vijay Babu posted a message on social media along with the words: "Silence is the best answer."
"Won’t get provoked irrespective of whatever happens. Won’t talk to media as directed by the honourable court irrespective of any provocation by the media. 100 per cent co-operating with the investigation. All proof will be given only to the investigating team and the honourable court. At the end truth will prevail," he wrote.
Ironically, it was Babu himself who escalated the case after he went live on Facebook in April in a bid to clear his name, casting himself as the victim.
Babu, 45, who works predominantly in the Malayalam film industry, took to Facebook Live, repeatedly revealing the name of the actress who has made the accusations against him.
The actress's name had previously been confidential, in line with Indian law.
"I am ready to face any legal consequences for revealing the name of the actor who has levelled allegations against me,” the actor said in the video. "I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m the victim in this. The so-called law of this country protects her and she is at ease while I’m the one who is suffering.
“I will file defamation and a counter-case. It won’t be a small case. I won’t let her get away that easily. I can share all the proof with me but I won’t because I don’t want to cause damage to her family... I have all the evidence that includes messages and 400 screenshots sent by the actor to clear my name."
What is Vijay Babu accused of?
In April 22, a Malayalam actress filed a police complaint in Kochi, Kerala, claiming Babu had sexually assaulted her several times.
The actress then anonymously shared her story on the Facebook page Women Against Sexual Harassment on April 27. In the post written in Malayalam, the actress alleged Babu had physically and sexually assaulted her at his flat in Kochi several times between March and April this year. She said he gained her trust by advising about her career as she was a newcomer, but used it to exploit her.
"He behaved like my saviour for my personal and professional problems but under the guise has sexually exploited me,” she wrote.
“Each time I tried to run away from this trauma, he would come after me with false promises of marriage. There are also several witnesses to the trauma he has put me through. Every time we met, he used to offer me characters in his upcoming films. But that wasn’t my intention. I was under his control and was scared to speak up because of the clout, influence and power he wielded in the film industry."
The actress also claimed Babu had filmed her nude and threatened to make it public if she spoke out.
"I am not keeping my mouth shut anymore. I can't take this anymore," she said.
The same day the message was posted, Babu, who is married, took to Facebook live, revealing the identity of actress.
“I would file a defamation case against the complainant. Let it be the beginning of a new ‘Me Too’. Let us start a new fight," he said in the video, which has now been deleted.
Why has Vijay Babu been arrested now?
According to Women in Cinema Collective in Kerala, Babu had been "absconding" since the sexual assault case was filed in April.
The organisation also said Babu had filed a counter suit, alleging he has been wrongly accused simply because he did not give the actress a role in the film.
On Monday, Babu appeared at the Ernakulam Town South police station in Kochi for questioning where he was briefly arrested and released on bail with a bond payment of 500,000 rupees. The Kerala High Court has ordered him to be available for questioning and not indulge in any form of attack through social media or other mediums against the accuser.
He's also been ordered not to leave Kerala without the approval of the court.
Babu could also face additional charges for publicly naming his accuser in his April Facebook video.
Who is Vijay Babu?
Babu first made his name as an actor for his role in the experimental 2013 film Philips and the Monkey Pen. He soon began to produce films under his banner, Friday Film House, including the acclaimed 2017 drama Angamaly Diaries, in which he also starred. He has since built a reputation as a producer who supports upcoming actors and filmmakers.